2015 Year of the Goat

2 Goats

Beautifully carved mother goat with the kid protectively kneeling under his mother’s belly, both showing a finely carved shaggy fur, elephant ivory, eyes inlaid in horn, unsigned, late 18th century (from the Dr. Joseph Kurstin Collection)

The Chinese calendar – which existed there already since around 2000 BC- was adopted by Japan from around the 6th century AD, together with Buddhism. The Zodiac has an influence on the character of mankind. Each of the 12 ‘animals’ has specific characteristics. The goat (hitsuji) symbolizes elegance, artistic demeanor and good-natured personality. In Chinese culture, people born in the Year of the Goat are regarded as inclined to worry too much, often they are peace-lovers preferring to avoid disagreements. Others may put upon people bearing the Sheep or Goat sign, but they are stronger than they seem. Family is very important.

During the last century till now, years of the Goat Years were in 1919, 1939, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991 and 2003, and again in 2027. In 60 year cycles, the 12 zodiac animals are repeated 5 times, representing the 5 elements Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water.

Of course it is not that simple; 60 is merely the most common denominator of 10 x 12, the ten representing the 5 elements but in order to make it ten, the Japanese have adopted a big (elder) brother and small (younger) brother of each of the five stated elements. In all eastern languages, big brother and younger brother is one noun each, and not formed by a noun (brother) plus an adjective (younger or bigger [elder]) like in western languages. Actually, in 2015 the year of the Goat starts on February 19, 2015 and lasts till February 8, 2016.

As the 6th animal in the Eastern zodiac, the Goat indicates the hours between 1 & 3 pm. In our Western Horoscope, the Goat corresponds to the Lion.

Best wishes to all for a splendid Year of the Goat, 2015!

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