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Small Talk: Prep for the Year of the Pig

Xin nian hoa and gongxi facai! I thought I’d get a jump this year on wishing you all a bountiful lunar New Year 4717, Year of the Pig. It begins Feb. 5 and gives you excuses to party until Feb. 15. That’s my idea of a great holiday.

According to Chinese astrology, 2019 is a great year to, as they say, “bring home the bacon” with our porcine icon. It is a year to make money — and, do I really need to point out it’s about darn time? 2019 is reportedly going to be full of joy, a year of friendship and love for all the zodiac signs; an auspicious year because the Pig attracts success in all the spheres of life. 

In spite of these good tidings, the lunar New Year always makes me a little nervous because it requires setting up your luck for the coming year. Whether you believe in luck or not … why take chances? There are many things you need to do to guarantee future luck. I was supposed to deep clean my house last week. Oops. But maybe I can make up for it by wearing bright colors, eating fish or getting a haircut on Feb. 3, Feb. 7 or Feb. 10. And don’t cut your noodles, as they represent long life. For prosperity, load up on oranges or tangerines. The Chinese words for orange and wealth are similar and the color of the orange symbolizes gold. 

Sadly, the good luck from fireworks won’t fly in Southern California, but maybe we can substitute with leftover Christmas poppers. And you can put the color red everywhere possible (I have the most divine, red kimono robe) and give gifts of money to family and friends, preferably in those pretty red envelopes.

After I put all that on my calendar, I was compelled to search out the portents for an Ox person during this Year of the Pig. If you must know, I am an Earth Ox, (Not fire or water, metal or wood, or anything the least bit sexy). Nonetheless, it means I tend to march around in the same mud as the pig, so we are buddies. 

I was pleased to find one site that insisted I need to sleep more to be a happier person. Let there be naps! Another suggests I should avoid dangerous activities such as skydiving or bungee jumping. Yeah, that’ll be a huge sacrifice, but I’m pretty sure I can manage.

To avoid setting up negative luck vibes on New Year’s Day (Feb. 15) don’t wear black or white, don’t wash your hair (you’ll wash away your luck) avoid cutting your luck using knives or scissors and skip the porridge (poor man’s food) for breakfast. OK, people. Consider yourselves forewarned. 

Now let’s go light the red lanterns, serve up the dumplings, spring rolls and Chinese rice pudding, pour some warm sake or cold Tsingtao beer, and celebrate.

 Jean Gillette is a freelance writer happy to spend the year quietly chumming around with pigs. Contact her at

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