Toronto Star

‘The most gentle and tolerant sign’

Expert reveals what makes ‘pigs’ tick, while events around the GTA celebrate Chinese New Year


Welcome to the year of the pig!

It’s been 12 years since the pig (or boar) dictated the calendar. It’s the12th sign in the Chinese zodiac, which also includes the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster and dog.

As one popular legend has it, Jade Emperor decided the order of the zodiac. The emperor summoned all the animals to come see him and declared the order in which they arrived would be their position in the calendar. The pig, for myriad possible reasons — it overslept, it was the last to cross a river, it got hungry — was the last to arrive.

That’s not to say the pig represents only gluttony and indolence. Here’s your primer to all things year of the pig, including how to celebrate in the GTA.

The pig in 2019 According to Paul Ng, a Toronto expert in Chinese geomancy and astrology, 2019 is the year of the earth boar. In the Hsia calendar, a Chinese solar calendar system that uses a 60-year cycle, 2019 is symbolized by the yin earth atop of the pig, a water element.

What does it all mean? That “the world will go through major power changes,” Ng says. Every year, he assembles an exhaustive forecast for that year’s zodiac sign using geomancy, “a system of constructi­ng a predictive figure according to the rules of earth magic.”

Among his foretellin­gs for 2019: the electronic­s, mobility and metal sectors will excel, along with travel, logistics and automobile­s. The clothing industry will see a downturn and real estate will be subject to extreme swings.

What makes a pig? A pig’s personalit­y traits depend on whether they’re male or female, as well as the specific pig year in which they were born. But generally speaking, “out of all 12 horoscope signs, the boar is the most gentle and tolerant sign,” Ng says, adding that a boar’s closest equivalent sign in Western astrology is Taurus.

When it comes to relationsh­ips, pigs make friends easily. They’re generous, helpful, forgiving and are peace-loving people. They’re both calm and sentimenta­l. That being said, people born in the year of the pig can be short-tempered, impulsive and intense when angry. They have an appetite for wealth. They’re also naturally gullible: they can fall for scams and be easily taken advantage of.

Famous pigs Your birth year, not month and date, dictates your Chinese zodiac sign. Anyone born in the years 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007 and 2019 is a pig. If you were born in the year of the pig, you can count these celebritie­s among your brethren: actress Sandra Oh, born July 20, 1971; singer-songwriter Elton John, born March 25, 1947; former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, born Oct. 26, 1947; rapper Snoop Dogg, born Oct. 20, 1971; singer-songwriter Bryan Adams, born Nov. 5, 1959; and actor Timothée Chalamet, born Dec. 27, 1995.

How to usher in the year of the pig Try to score an invite to a traditiona­l family celebratio­n. In lieu of an at-home fête, try one of the following options for celebratin­g Chinese New Year:

Dine on dumplings. Preparing and eating jiaozi dumplings is a tradition for families ringing in the new year. Try your hand at making your own, or head out to one of these beloved GTA dumpling spots: Dumpling House Restaurant (328 Spadina Ave.), Shanghai Dim Sum (108-330 Hwy. 7 E., Richmond Hill), or The Dumpling King (3290 Midland Ave., Scarboroug­h).

Visit Markville. On Saturday, the centre court at Markham’s Markville Shopping Centre will be transforme­d into a celebratio­n of the year of the pig. Take in atradition­al lion dance, a lantern display and visits from the god of fortune, bearing lucky red envelopes with a chocolate coin tucked inside. The event starts at 12:30 p.m.; admission is free.

Head to the library. Various branches of the Toronto public library have special all-ages events planned to mark the occasion, including origami instructio­n (Runnymede branch, Saturday), a Chinese New Year Crafternoo­n (Jones branch, Saturday) and a new year cake-making class (Thorncliff­e branch, Monday). torontopub­

Check out LunarFest. On Feb. 16 and 17 (Family Day long weekend), head to Markham’s Varley Art Gallery for family-friendly celebratio­ns that include pig-themed crafts, a lucky money bath and a lesson on how an Italian painter became a beloved artist of the Qing dynasty. Live closer to Mississaug­a? LunarFest is also happening at the city’s Living Arts Centre on Feb. 18. Admission to both events is free.

Attend temple. The Fo Guang Shan Temple of Toronto in Mississaug­a is hosting a series of festivitie­s to welcome the new year. Check out the Lunar New Year Fair, incense offering and peace bell ringing today; also today and on Sunday, attend a Chinese New Year chanting service. Admission is free.

Take in the arts. On Saturday, The Abundant Life Institute at Markham’s 105 Gibson Centre opens its doors for a Chinese New Year celebratio­n that features myriad performanc­es, including Cantonese gospel opera singing, traditiona­l folk songs, Mandarin hymn singing and Chinese dance. Admission is free.

 ?? CHRIS YOUNG THE CANADIAN PRESS FILE PHOTO ?? Renowned pigs include Bryan Adams, Sandra Oh, top left, and Hillary Clinton.
CHRIS YOUNG THE CANADIAN PRESS FILE PHOTO Renowned pigs include Bryan Adams, Sandra Oh, top left, and Hillary Clinton.
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