Today is the official start of the year of the Rabbit. Also, because it’s the new year, by some counts today everyone turns one year older. A few New Years related thoughts:
Superstition: faith in that which cannot be seen, or verified, is still strong in China, including traditional Chinese medicine, ghosts, and not least astrology. Among the recent astrological concerns for the coming year are a fear that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, both born in previous rabbit years, are entering inauspicious times. And, because Spring does not official start until after this Spring Festival, according to some other astrology, all marriages and births this year are potentially cursed. So, watch out.
The Rabbit Revolution Video: China Geeks brought my attention to an internet video that tells a story of a society of rabbits, who after suffering through situations taken directly from the Chinese experience, rise up and overthrow their oppressors. It’s a completely unveiled call for revolution. As the video says, “The year of the rabbit has come. Even rabbits bite when they’re pushed.”
Transportation Chaos: It’s been called the largest migration in the history of the world, and it happens yearly. One of the perks of a society where everyone celebrates the same holiday is that they are all trying to get home at the same time, and with 75 million long-distance migrant workers, not to mention those who live permanently away from their families, it’s a recipe for chaos. Desperation, scams, days spent in line, tears, are all par for the course. These pictures from ChinaSmack give an idea of the extent as the transportation system faces an estimated 2.8 billion trips over 2 months.
Spring Festival TV Special: American families might watch Miracle on 42nd Street around Christmas time, Chinese families watch the CCTV Spring Festival Special. It includes singing and dancing in grand style, but also short humorous skits and the two man comedy routine known as cross-talk. The whole thing is pretty corny, but it’s a cultural staple. You can watch the entire 2010 event online.