Happy 2015 Chinese-Lunar New Year!
Is this year’s 2015 Chinese-Lunar New Year Zodiac animal the Ram, the Sheep, or the Goat?
Today, February 19th, 2015 is the Chinese-Lunar New Year’s Day and marks the beginning of the New Year for Asian cultures. The Mandarin word for this year’s Zodiac animal is “Yang” which can be interpreted differently depending upon in which part or region of Asia one lives.
A few days ago, I was having dinner in Sam Woo’s in Irvine which is one of my favorite restaurants for celebrating almost any occasion–but especially the Chinese New Year. The restaurant was preparing for the Chinese New Year’s Eve celebration and had brightly colored paper decorations announcing the Year of the Ram.
Later I learned that in other parts of China and Taiwan people celebrate the Sheep or the Goat rather than the Ram. In addition, people from Vietnam, Korea, Tibet and Mongolia all interpret “Yang,” the Zodiac animal depending upon which of the three are most prevalent in each of these regions. The male Ram is more aggressive while the sheep is a more docile, sweet looking animal, signifying a more peaceful year ahead. Then there are those who widely recognize this year as the Year of the Goat.
The most comprehensive explanation of these regional differences can be found in the podcast/transcript from this morning’s National Public Radio (NPR) in which the regional differences are described in great detail in “Whatever Floats Your Goat: The 2015 Lunar New Year Animal is Up for Debate”