Today is the beginning of the new Lunar New Year for 2015, a calendar Chinese people have used since 2600 B.C when the mythical Yellow Emperor, or Huang Di, started the first cycle of the Chinese zodiac. According to legend, Huang Di named an animal to represent each year in a 12-year cycle that includes the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig.
But there seems to be some reticence in North America to call it the Year of the GOAT, and choose instead a more “sexier” animal, the “Ram”, or even the softer, fluffier “Sheep”.
Is it the Year of the GOAT, Sheep, or Ram?
I think many in North America consider the GOAT to be a bit banal, a lowly animal un-befitting of the majesty of the Lunar New Year, but the GOAT has always been a very well-respected animal in Chinese culture and history. Since ancient times, the goat became closely linked to Chinese people’s livelihood. Its meat and milk are highly nutritious, and its wool makes fabric that is lightweight, soft, and has other good properties. Chinese people also learned to use its fleece to make writing brushes and its skin to keep warm.
The Chinese character 羊 (yáng), which generally refers to a GOAT, is considered a symbol of auspiciousness, good luck, and peace. Since ancient times, people have used 羊to symbolize good-naturedness.
羊 is among the animals that Chinese people like most. It is generally gentle, calm, and quiet by nature and is a source of many things that benefit humankind.
羊 is close to the meaning of good things. As such, it is used in many Chinese characters to indicate something beneficial.
The most striking characteristic of the GOAT is its peaceful manner and so Goat people tend to be lovers of peace who prefer to avoid disagreements. Thus, the Year of the GOAT is a time for people leave conflicts behind and to get along peacefully.
Those born in the Year of the GOAT (1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, or 2015), are said to be creative, intelligent, dependable, and calm. GOATS are comfortable being alone with their thoughts, are seen as calm individuals. Their personalities are quiet, reserved, and soothing. They tend to be easygoing and relaxed. GOATS enjoy being part of a group, but prefer staying out of the limelight and letting others take center stage. They are nurturing and pensive.
To sign GOAT in American Sign Language, tap your first two bent fingers (like the horns of a GOAT) to your chin and then tap forehead.
Gung Hei Fat Choi (Happy New Year)!
What do you think –GOAT, Ram, or Sheep?