This coming Chinese New Year will take place starting on February 5th, 2019. This is the year of the Pig – the last sign before the cycle restarts next year. The festival is known as ‘Spring Festival’ in modern mainland China and is undoubtedly their biggest festival of the year, both traditionally and in terms of how widespread it is celebrated. The date has great importance worldwide as all cultures are involved in wishing each other good fortune and health for the year to come.
Two Little Piggies, 2012 (w/c on paper), Alison Cooper / Private Collection
The Pig is the 12th and final Zodiac sign – the exact reason is unclear, though there are several theories. According to popular Chinese myth, the Jade Emperor decreed that the order of the Zodiac was decided by the order in which the animals arrived to the party. The Pig, apparently, overslept, though other stories tell that a wolf destroyed his house, and he refused to set off until he had rebuilt it. In any case, by the time the Pig arrived, he could only take the last remaining spot.
Feeling Great (oil on canvas), Pat Scott (1932-2017) / Private Collection
In spite of its lateness to the party, Pigs are prospering symbols of health and wealth, with their chubby faces and big ears also apparently a sign of fortune.
The Pig, 1998, (oil on linen), Cristina Rodriguez / Private Collection
Those with the Pig zodiac are said to be all about impulse and action. They have security but love to press harder for further achievements. They can be materialistic but this gives them motivation to work harder, even tackling the most boring or trivial of tasks with relish. Their ultimate aim is to seek positions of power and wealth, finding happiness while they do so.
An anthropomorphic pig performing in a circus (colour litho), English School, (20th century) / Private Collection / Look and Learn / Valerie Jackson Harris Collection
Of course, there’s more to the Zodiac than a different animal each year – there are also elements associated with each year which changes independently of that year’s animal. In 2019 the element of the year is Earth. The element is then applied to that year’s amimal. Earth Pigs are found in 2019 and previously 1959. They have a strong social drive with friends from all walks of life, are successful at work, and enjoy support both in and out of the workplace.