Saturday, January 28, 2017

The Year of the Cock

Well, that title must have caught your attention.  One can also say it is the Year of the Rooster, or, more correctly, the Year of the Chicken, since the Chinese word applied to this particular lunar new year cycle is not gender specific.   But I got your attention, right?

The cock, or rooster, is an energetic creature and very aggressive.  It is not monogamous, preferring to stand guard over several hens and their general nesting area while attacking any other cock that attempts to encroach upon its territory (hence the term “cockfight”).  Cocks also strut as they exercise their dominance over their female broods.  

The Chinese New Year 2017 – the Year of the Cock – begins today, which corresponds with the second New Moon after the Winter Solstice.  Usually falling between mid January and mid February, this ancient ritual celebrating the spring renewal is the longest of the traditional Chinese holidays, dating back to circa 2600 BCE.  It will last for six days, until February 2.  It is said that the Taoist sign of the cock – a yang symbol that is the tenth sign in the twelve year cycle of Chinese zodiac – represents an observant and quick wit suggesting practical solutions through hard work, punctuality and fidelity.  It predicts a time of rebirth, transformation and growth; a year to renew and to restore, to replace the old with the new.  A cock with new plumage as it were.  It is the only fowl to be represented in the Chinese zodiac, last appearing in 2005.

Although modern China uses the international Gregorian calendar today, it still observes the traditional lunar calendar.  And this year the Chinese New Year is getting a lot of attention both home and abroad.  The Economist is reporting that China’s largest festival is going global in a big way, and the government hopes that Chinese communities around the work will ramp up the festivities.  Other countries throughout Asia celebrate the lunar new year in their own unique way, but the Chinese version is probably the best known and most widely celebrated as a result of the widespread Chinese diaspora going back to the 19th century.  An aggressive celebration of a new year represented by an aggressive, and yes, sometime vain cock.  Is this a cautionary tale perhaps?

This year’s celebration in China includes a faux panegyric to our fresh-baked Chief Executive . . . something I am quite certain he will enjoy and take in the spirit it was intended . . . or not.  A large statute of a white cock, this one adorned with his golden coiffure representing what was once described as “the furrowed wake that a speedboat would leave on a lake of orange sherbet” . . . “a mullet that died in some horrific accident.”  Oh, I could go on and on.  One of the statue’s feathered “hands” gesticulates our Dear Leader’s omnipresent lecturing finger, the other accentuating his “AOK” sign formed with his thumb and middle digit (the guy really needs new shtick, I think).  This statue was recently erected outside a shopping mall in Taiyun, the capital of a northern Shanxi province, and it has become the subject of a media frenzy.  Since then a factory located in Jiaxing, near Shanghai, has been manufacturing and selling dozens of giant inflatable presidential cocks, some as high as 15 feet, to shopping malls across China.  Photographs of these statues have been popping up in the international media and have gone viral on numerous social media platforms. (I wonder if DJT will demand more photos to prove that there are actually more presidential statues than were actually manufactured and sold?)  You know you cant trust the media, or so he wants us to believe.

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to share this with you.  Have a Happy Lunar New Year!!

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