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Feb 4, 2019, Monday 8:08am PST

Gone with the dogs, in with the swines

Lunar/Chinese New Year 2019, Year of the Pig

As the dog days of 2018 come to a close, the pig makes its official entrance for 2019. The Year of the Pig was last seen twelve years ago in 2008 when the world almost fell apart (again) in the midst of (another) banking crisis. Ironically, 2008 was supposed to be the auspicious year of the Golden Pig. Hospitals across E. Asia prepared for record births in a region plagued with low birth rates.

Maybe 2019 will turn out to be luckier than the last. Every Zodiac year is also accompanied by one of the traditional "five elements" (metal, wood, water, fire and earth). The "earth pig" could prove to be more grounded, humble and equanimous, though some are also calling 2019 the year of the Golden (Yin) Pig as well. The last "earth pig" was 60 years ago in 1959 when Barbie made its debut and Alaska and Hawaii became 49th and 50th states, respectively.

As a matter of symbol, pigs are generally viewed as happy, lucky and a sign of wealth. To be sure, if you're that fat and jolly in the animal kingdom, things must be going really well.

Widely known as Chinese New Year, the Lunar New Year (based on a lunisolar calendar) is celebrated across wider E. Asia, including Vietnam (TαΊΏt), Singapore, Korea (Seollal), Japan, Mongolia (Tsagaan Sar), Tibet (Losar), China (Spring Festival) and everywhere there's a large Chinese diaspora. With the passing of the first month on the Gregorian calendar and the start of another new year, we're reminded that time is fleeting and beginnings are relative.

The Swine family should be especially thankful this year. Sam is doing well in school with straight A's. And Mom and Dad are both in good health and eating better. To kick off Chinese New Year 2019, the Swines will be guests of honor at a new year event in Bacon County. Dad is happy because there will be plenty of food. And Mom will be beaming in her new beautiful dress as the belle of the ball.

Happy 2019 and Year of the Pig.

The Year of the Pig, 2019, begins February 5th.

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