Monday, February 19, 2007

Chinese New Year of the Pig

Happy Chinese New Year! This week begins the year of the pig, according
to the Chinese calendar. If you were born in 1995, 1983, 1971, 1959,
1947, 1935, 1923, or 1911, congratulations! This is your year. In Chinese astrology a pig signifies intelligence, honesty, strength, and fortitude.

It's so unfair that in many cultures pigs symbolize all things uncultured.
In English we have idioms such as to pig out (to overeat), to be pigheaded
(stubborn), to be piggish (greedy or slovenly), to hog (take more than
one's share) -- all reflections of our bias. In truth, pigs are the most
intelligent animals after primates.
This week we'll celebrate the Chinese New Year with a few porcine words --
words that have little piggies in their spellings.

pignus (PIG-nuhs) noun, plural pignora

1. A pledge.
2. Something held as security for a debt.

[From Latin pignus (pledge).]
I just love this picture!

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