Sunday, February 14, 2010

Double Happiness

Romance readers and writers everywhere--today's your day! Every romance blog is celebrating St. Valentine's Day. I thought I'd be a bit different and wish you a Happy Chinese New Year. Welcome to the Year of the Tiger!

As you probably know, the Tiger is one of the twelve animals that define the Chinese Zodiac (also influential in Japan and Southeast Asia). Each animal is associated with different personality characteristics. Thus, as in western astrology, your nature is determined by when you were born. In the case of the Chinese zodiac, your primary nature is determined by the year rather than the month of your birth.

According to Wikipedia, the twelve different types of personalities as follows.

  1. Rat: Forthright, tenacious, intense, meticulous, charismatic, sensitive, hardworking, industrious, charming, eloquent, sociable, artistic, shrewd. Can be manipulative, vindictive, self-destructive, mendacious, venal, selfish, obstinate, critical, over-ambitious, ruthless, intolerant, scheming.
  2. Ox (Water buffalo in Vietnam): Dependable, calm, methodical, born leader, patient, hardworking, conventional, steady, modest, logical, resolute, tenacious. Can be stubborn, narrow-minded, materialistic, rigid, demanding.
  3. Tiger: Unpredictable, rebellious, colorful, powerful, passionate, daring, impulsive, vigorous, stimulating, sincere, affectionate, humanitarian, generous. Can be cold, restless, reckless, impatient, quick-tempered, obstinate, ruthless, selfish, aggressive, unpredictable, moody.
  4. Rabbit: ambitious, gracious, good friend, kind, sensitive, soft-spoken, amiable, elegant, reserved, cautious, artistic, thorough, tender, self-assured, shy, astute, compassionate, flexible. Can be moody, detached, superficial, self-indulgent, opportunistic, stubborn.
  5. Dragon (Snail in Kazakhstan): Magnanimous, stately, vigorous, strong, self-assured, proud, noble, direct, dignified, jealous, eccentric, intellectual, fiery, passionate, decisive, pioneering, artistic, generous, loyal. Can be tactless, arrogant, imperious, tyrannical, demanding, intolerant, dogmatic, violent, impetuous, brash.
  6. Snake: Deep thinker, wise, mystic, graceful, soft-spoken, sensual, creative, prudent, shrewd, elegant, cautious, responsible, calm, strong, constant, purposeful. Can be loner, bad communicator, possessive, hedonistic, self-doubting, distrustful, mendacious, suffocating, cold.
  7. Horse: Cheerful, popular, quick-witted, changeable, earthy, perceptive, talkative, agile - mentally and physically, magnetic, intelligent, astute, flexible, open-minded. Can be fickle, arrogant, childish, anxious, rude, gullible, stubborn.
  8. Goat, or Sheep: Righteous, sincere, sympathetic, mild-mannered, shy, artistic, creative, gentle, compassionate, understanding, mothering, determined, peaceful, generous, seeks security. Can be moody, indecisive, over-passive, worrier, pessimistic, over-sensitive, complainer, weak-willed.
  9. Monkey: Inventor, motivator, improviser, quick-witted, inquisitive, flexible, innovative, problem solver, self-assured, sociable, artistic, polite, dignified, competitive, objective, factual, intellectual. Can be egotistical, vain, selfish, reckless, snobbish, deceptive, manipulative, cunning, jealous, suspicious.
  10. Rooster: Acute, neat, meticulous, organized, self-assured, decisive, conservative, critical, perfectionist, alert, zealous, practical, scientific, responsible. Can be over zealous and critical, puritanical, egotistical, abrasive, opinionated, given to empty bravado.
  11. Dog: Honest, intelligent, straightforward, loyal, sense of justice and fair play, attractive, amicable, unpretentious, sociable, open-minded, idealistic, moralistic, practical, affectionate, sensitive, easy going. Can be cynical, lazy, cold, judgmental, pessimistic, worrier, stubborn, quarrelsome.
  12. Pig (Wild boar in Japan and Elephant in Northern Thailand) (Yin, 4th Trine, Fixed Element Water): Honest, gallant, sturdy, sociable, peace-loving, patient, loyal, hard-working, trusting, sincere, calm, understanding, thoughtful, scrupulous, passionate, intelligent. Can be naïve, over-reliant, self-indulgent, gullible, fatalistic, materialistic.

In Chinese astrology the animal signs assigned by year represent what others perceive you as being or how you present yourself. It is a common misconception that the animals assigned by year are the only signs, and many western descriptions of Chinese astrology draw solely on this system. In fact, there are also animal signs assigned by month (called inner animals) and hours of the day (called secret animals).

So while a person might appear to be a dragon because they were born in the year of the dragon, they might also be a snake internally and an ox secretively. In total, this makes for 8,640 possible combinations (60 year cycle (5 elements x 12 animals) x 12 months x 12 times of day) that a person might be.

According to my research, I am a Dragon. Remember that you cannot rely just on the numeric year of your birth; a particular animal/year doesn't start until Chinese New Year. Since my birthday is in January, sometimes it occurs before the start of the Chinese Year and sometimes after (the Chinese calendar is lunar). 1953 is normally reported as year of the Snake, and in fact I have quite a few "snake-like" traits. However, the year of the Snake in 1953 did not begin until February.

The animal signs might be an interesting method for coming up with characters. Tigers, in particular, sound like great alpha heroes: powerful, passionate, impulsive, vigorous, affectionate and generous.

In any case, I hope that you enjoy both your Valentine's Day and your New Year. As for me, I'm off to dinner and a movie with my DH. Maybe not the most romantic celebration you could imagine, but it doesn't really matter what we do as long as we're together.

By the way: I just posted my monthly newsletter at http://www.lisabetsarai.com/news.html, with all the latest on my releases, reviews, free reads and upcoming appearances, plus two easy contests. AND some great tiger pictures! Check it out.

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