Chinese New Year

2018 is the Year of the Dog

by Dave Gibson

According to legend, the Jade Emperor announced that he was creating a Chinese lunisolar astrological calendar in which twelve animals would be included on a first to arrive basis in the morning. The cat suggested to his good friend the rat that they both should leave early in hopes of being named to the calendar, but was concerned that he would oversleep. “Not to worry my friend, I’ll wake you on my way to see the emperor,” said the early-rising rat. In the rat’s rush to meet the emperor the next day, he forgot to awaken the cat and hitched a ride on the back of an ox in exchange for the rat singing to the ox during the journey. When the ox arrived before any of the other animals, the rat snuck ahead of him to be listed first in the Chinese calendar followed by the ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. Arriving at the palace too late, the cat has never forgiven the rat for being slighted and chases and tries to kill the rat whenever he sees him.

The Chinese calendar revolves around a twelve-year cycle wherein each year is represented by an animal. Beginning on Friday, February 16th (Chinese New Year’s Day), 2018 is the Year of the Dog. On New Year’s Eve, Chinese families gather for a traditional feast and the next day clean their houses sweeping away bad fortune. Children are given well-wishes and red envelopes containing “lucky” money. Elaborate celebrations with lion dancers and firecrackers marking the turning of the ancient calendar sometimes last for two weeks in parts of Asia.

Persons born in the Year of the Dog are said to be intelligent, independent, serious, sincere, decisive, communicative, loyal, and diligent in the workplace. Negative personality traits attributed to dogs are self-righteousness, stubbornness, and being overly critical of others. Famous people with Year of the Dog birthdays include: Socrates, Benjamin Franklin, Winston Churchill, Golda Meir, George Gershwin, Frankie Valli, Gloria Steinhem, Liza Minnelli, Jane Goodall, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Cher, Dolly Parton, Shirley McClain, Sylvester Stallone, Roberto Clemente, “Mean” Joe Green, Andre Agassi, Queen Latifah, Jennifer Lopez, Sophia Loren, Brigitte Bardot, Telly Savalas, Betty White, Norman Lear, Jack Kerouac, Herbert Hoover, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, Tonya Harding, and André the Giant.

Dave Gibson has been a contributor at the Weekly Register-Call for over a dozen years. To view past articles and pictures go to

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