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Myths, Legends, and the Year of Caprinae

2015: Year of Caprinae

IMAG2525Year of the sheep, the ram, and the goat: I’m not going to debate, so I wish you happy year of Caprinae. According to South China Morning Post, scholars believe that it’s the year of the goat based ancient illustrations.

Today marks the 8th day out of the 15 days of Chinese New Year celebration. Why does it last this long? Just imagine celebrating Winter Solstice, Seasonal religious holiday, and Valentine’s day all in one. In fact, the final day of Chinese New Year is a version of Valentine’s day (元宵節)–the first full moon of the year.

The two-weeks celebration can also allow people to return home in time to meet with alllllll the relatives. After all, I remember hearing stories about how my Great-Grandfather sailed on a junk boat from Sydney, Australia all the way back to Canton, China.


Legend+Folklore Highlights

Speaking of stories, festivals aren’t complete without their legends and folklores. Even though there are multiple versions of these stories, here are some of the highlights from my childhood:

1) New Year Day 1: The Red, The Fire Crackers, and the “Passing of Year”
In case you haven’t noticed, Chinese New Year is usually bombarded with red and gold. Maybe you’ve learned from somewhere that red symbolizes good luck and happiness, while gold means wealth. It’s true…but there’s more.

CNY01Just like Green Lantern having a weakness to things that are coloured yellow, a horrifying beast called “year”  (年 – Nian) was terrified of the colour red. Each year, the beast would come out of its hiding place to terrorize villagers. Apparently the beast had hypersensitivity issues: In addition to the colour red, the beast really disliked loud noises.

To cope with the annual attack, villagers would plaster things in red, light fire crackers, and participate in lion dance (which involves a lot of percussion instruments) to chase away the “year” beast.

Today: Instead of asking people “What are you doing for New Year’s?” We would ask each other “How are you passing the year?” (過年)  as a way to acknowledge the “passing of the Nian beast”.


2) New Year Day 7: Happy Birthday Humans–Cosmogonic Story

Nuwa (女媧), one of the old Chinese pantheons, was a serpent/dragon goddess who created humans. Unlike Medusa, Nuwa looked human from the top half with a presumably a scaly, serpent/dragon like bottom half. Similar to many ancient hierarchical societies, creation myths were told to reinforce hierarchies as a natural state of the world.

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Nuwa was making people out of mud. Eventually the goddess got tired of shaping the people individually. Good thing Nuwa had found an easy way out: She dabbed rope into some mud and start flicking the mud around. As you may have guessed, the legend states that hand-crafted people became the royal elite. As for random people like me? They were the mass-produced, haphazardly-flicked mud people.


3) 12 Animal Zodiac: Where’s the Cat?
When I was a kid, Mrs. Taffy told me a version of the Jade Emperor hosting a race.

12 Animals:”Where’s the cat?” The short answer is this: The rodent (rat) was being a total jerk. Without having to recount the whole story, I’m going to focus on the horrible rat.

Among the animal kingdom, cats and rodents (rat) are horrible swimmers. Because a segment of the race involved in crossing the river, the rat and the cat decided to hop onto ox’s back. Being a total jerk, the rat pushed the cat into the river right before the finish line and hopped on shore; hence beating the ox. The cat was disqualified; thus the beginning of the cat and rodent rivalry.


Colour Collective

I was aiming at Colour Collective from last week on Twitter. Initially I thought it was just for illustrators until artists told me that it’s any medium! Needless to say, I was super excited about about my first colour collective. The colour was Orange Lake Light–thank goodness I could find a similar yarn colour.

MollyMarmaladeCNY2015

Methods:

  • Amigurumi: Crochet in Round
  • Crochet in Rows & Rounds: Kung Fu Shoes
  • Wired horns, arms & legs
  • Front & Back Loops Only: Horns Texture
  • Brushed Wool Yarn – for fuzzy coat
  • Magnetic hooves (hands) for optional “Congratulatory Gestures”

Initially I was going to do a few types of caprinae, but I don’t think I’ll have time. Here’s my contribution to colour collective with the orange traditional men’s jacket, with Kung Fu pants & shoes–which you can’t really see from this angle 😦

With that said, Happy New Year, and Gong Hei Fat Choy (恭喜發財) –“Congratulations on being prosperous/Congratulations on blooming wealth”. All the best. 

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2 thoughts on “Myths, Legends, and the Year of Caprinae

  1. ealserb says:

    Ooh in the version I was told, it was because the rat didn’t wake the cat up even though he said he would, and the cat overslept and missed the whole thing… but the rat was being a jerk anyway so yeah. The goat is so adorable~ 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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