Wednesday, February 27, 2008
2008: Year of the Rat
Year of the Rat Design available in the Better Holes and Garbage Store
It is an unfortunate fact that rats are rarely celebrated. Sure, there's World Rat Day, a holiday created by rat lovers (although celebrated, in turn, by mostly rat lovers). Plus, every year Kentucky there is the Running of the Rats, although it is hardly as big as the Kentucky Derby. And yet, of one thing I am certain; Chinese New Year is a big deal. And in 2008, the Rat has their year.
The rat is the first sign of the Chinese Zodiac, and those born under the sign are said to be intelligent, charming, and industrial (among other things). Chinese New Year fell on February 7th this year, but the celebrations continued for weeks after.
I was lucky enough to find myself in Honolulu's Chinatown this year for my first ever Chinese New Year festival. It was a celebration like nothing I'd experienced. Dragons danced and drums played and firecrackers sizzled. And the rats! There were rats everywhere to be found. T-shirts, greeting cards, jewelry, plush toys, ornaments, banks, the list goes on and on. Everyone was celebrating the rat.
But the fun didn't end when I left Chinatown. A simple search on ebay (I don't know what compelled me) brought up a multitude of rat goodies, from commemorative coins to sneakers and everything else in between. My will was strong for the most part, but I did break and buy a Year of the Rat USB Drive. How could I resist?
The year has only just started -- I'm sure there's plenty of rat fun to come, so head on down to your nearest Chinatown or Asian Market and celebrate the Year of the Rat.