What do I have in common with Audrey Hepburn Oprah Winfrey, Jacqueline Kennedy, and Sarah Jessica Parker (besides the fact that we all are women)? All of us were born under the same sign of the Chinese Zodiac: the Snake.
And today we say goodbye to the just-ended Year of the Dragon and welcome the Year of the Snake. What year is it? Good question. Wikipedia tells us that depending on what year you count as year 1, this is the Chinese year 4711, 4710, or 4650.
People born in the Year of the Snake are supposed to have good luck. According to the Chinese Zodiac, the Snake is the most enigmatic, intuitive, introspective, refined and collected of the Animals Signs. Ancient Chinese wisdom says a Snake in the house is a good omen because it means that your family will not starve. People born in the Year of the Snake are thought to be quite intelligent and wise, great mediators, and good at doing business. And this happens to be the year of the Black or Water Snake, which is supposed to be particularly fortuitous for doing business.
The concern with prosperity for a new year is reflected by the “loud and enthusiastic greetings” which often accompany the Chinese new year. Wikipedia tells us that “the most common auspicious greetings and sayings consist of four characters, such as the following:
- 金玉滿堂Jīnyùmǎntáng – “May your wealth [gold and jade] come to fill a hall”
- 大展鴻圖Dàzhǎnhóngtú – “May you realize your ambitions”
- 迎春接福Yíngchúnjiēfú – “Greet the New Year and encounter happiness”
- 萬事如意Wànshìrúyì – “May all your wishes be fulfilled”
- 吉慶有餘Jíqìngyǒuyú – “May your happiness be without limit”
- 竹報平安Zhúbàopíng’ān – “May you hear [in a letter] that all is well”
- 一本萬利Yīběnwànlì – “May a small investment bring ten-thousandfold profits”
- 福壽雙全Fúshòushuāngquán – “May your happiness and longevity be complete”
- 招財進寶Zhāocáijìnbǎo – “When wealth is acquired, precious objects follow”
They all sound pretty good to me. As they say in Southern China: Gong Xi Fa Chai (pronounced ‘Gong Hay Fat Choy’), which means “congratulations and make a fortune.”
Best wishes for a happy and prosperous year of the snake to one and all!
Would you like to send a Chinese New Year’s card? Find ecards here.