Monday, January 26, 2009

HAPPY NEW YEAR!



This is Lydia's first Chinese New Year. Hurray! Did you know that Lydia was born in the year of the Rat?! If you know me, you know that I hate rodents. I actually had a panic attack in New Orleans about rats one time. If you know Alex, you should ask him what happened. I think it was all those James Herbert books about rats. I read all types of horror books when I was younger. Now that I'm older and more wimpy, they come back to haunt me. Eugh I hate those books. All I remember is a tunnel of 4-foot-long rats piled high. It's gross. Yes, really, I read those books. It was actually a trilogy all about rats. Those books traumatized me for life and I didn't even know it at the time! Ever watch the movie, 'I am Legend'? You know the scene I'm talking about. EUGH. I think it may have something to do with my mother too. I don't remember her being scared of anything, except she really hated mice. So maybe that's where I get that from. She used to use peanut butter on toast to try to trap them! My Dad is really scared of snakes. He hid behind the sofa once when they were on TV. At the time I thought it was to make us laugh, but knowing how I can't watch rodents on TV, it was probably because he really was scared! Anyway, I digress...

My aversion to rodents has nothing to do with my baby Lydia being born in the year of the rat! Rats are supposed to be very smart. This year is the year of the Ox. Below are a couple of Chinese zodiac stories I got from the web. The first one is similar to the one I remember learning about in chinese school, although there are many variations out there.

Legends and mythology are a big part of Chinese culture, especially in relation to the Chinese Zodiac. The 12 animals that appear on the Chinese Zodiac calendar include a rat, buffalo (ox), tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. It’s an unusual combination of animals for sure, and their appearance on the Chinese Zodiac is the topic of countless legends and is deeply embedded in Chinese mythology.

An unlikely gathering

The most well-known of the Chinese zodiac legends states that Buddha invited the animals to participate in a race. The prize was a coveted position on the Chinese Zodiac calendar. The first 12 animals to cross the river would appear on the Chinese Zodiac calendar in the order in which they completed the race.

The first animal to make it across the finish line according to Chinese Zodiac legends and mythology was the rat. It seems unlikely that such a small animal could win such a strenuous race, especially when one considers all the contenders.

Chinese Zodiac legends and mythology explains that the rat used his brain rather than his brawn. It hitched a ride on what it perceived was the mightiest swimmer. Just before the buffalo reached the shore, the rat jumped off the buffalo’s back and crossed the finish line before the buffalo, putting the rat in first place.

The buffalo came in second and as promised in the legends and mythology, was the second animal listed on the Chinese Zodiac. The tiger, also being strong, came in third, followed by the rabbit that jumped his way across and was helped during the last stretch by the dragon. A snake hid in the hoof of the horse which is how it managed to make it across the river. At the last minute the snake jumped out and scared the horse into seventh place.

The sheep, monkey and rooster helped one another across and earned their spots on the calendar as well. The dog made it too, but decided a bath was more important than the position which is why it came in eleventh. Finally, the pig appeared and is listed last. According to Chinese Zodiac legends and mythology, the pig feasted and rested half-way through the race, but made it across guaranteeing its position.

A small gathering

The history of the Chinese Zodiac weaves another intriguing tale. This one tells of an invitation to a grand feast. All the animals were invited to join Buddha at either a birthday celebration, a New Year celebration, or a celebration for his departure from this world. Only 12 animals showed up at the festivities and that’s how they ended up being featured on the Chinese Zodiac calendar. Another of the legends of the Chinese Zodiac states that instead of Buddha, it was the Jade Emperor who invited the animals.

Lyd-Lyd does enjoy her sleep. One of her favourite positions is with her arms stretched up. I believe this is Auntie Elaine's favourite sleep position too! She also has a bib on and 2 burp clothes around her head. I guess we were prepared for the inevitable geyser of spew.
She's in a FOOTED SLEEPER so I'm not sure how she got her leg out of that, but she did. Doesn't her head look big for her body in this photo?!
Hope you enjoyed the latest Lydia pics and the chinese zodiac 101!

4 comments:

Thy said...

Happy New Year Sonia, Gary & Lydia!
I'm a day late & a dollar short, but best wishes all the same.
- Thy

Annie said...

haha ... that is so Elaine's sleeping style:P xx

De said...

She is such a cutie! Happy New Year!

April said...

I have friends who celebrated the new year earlier this week...I forgot you would too! Happy New Year!! I love this information!! I am a 'snake' in the Chinese zodiac. :-)