It may be the Year of the Rabbit, but there were a lot of snakes and rats in the room at Ping Pong Dim Sum’s Chinese New Year’s celebration.
“I am the Year of the Snake,” said photographer Pat Ryan. “The year of the snake is vain, and high-tempered with a tendency towards physical beauty. I know that from reading Chinese placemats for many years. That’s my sign. It really doesn't match me at all, but that’s what they say I am.”
The Chinese calendar is basically used to measure the passage of time based on the astronomical observations of the movement of the sun, moon and stars, we're told. Recently, there was an uproar over the new calculations for astrological signs due to the addition of a new sign called Ophiuchus, throwing everything out of whack.
We thought we’d better check out how this affected the Chinese calendar.
“This is the Year of the Rabbit, although I was born in the Year of the Snake,” said organizer Linda Roth. “And I’m here to celebrate Chinese New Year, which is why I have red ribbons in my hair. Red’s the color of celebration, although I do put red stripes in my hair occasionally because it jazzes up the look.“ As to whether the Chinese changed their calendar as the astrologers did, she claims yes. “It is now the Year of the Rabbit-Snake because astrology changed the heavens, so watch out for the mutants.”
Sherry Abedi, the general manager of Ping Pong added: “I’ll tell you about the dragons,” she said. “The dragon is all about warding off the bad spirits and starting the new year with good luck and good fortune. Tonight we’re serving the fish rolls because fish rolls bring about prosperity."
And what's her year?
"I’m a Rat."
She's not the only one. “I’m the year of the rat,“ said Nikki Schwab of the Washington Examiner's Yeas and Nays, "and do I feel bad about being a rat? No, that was my high school nickname.”
Snakes and rats -- doesn't sound great to Western ears. “I’m the year of the dog," said fellow Nitesider Kate Michel. “1982. I don’t actually know that much about Chinese astrology, but I think that every year it is about wisdom and happiness, and money, and just making great things happen for yourself. Hopefully, that applies to the year of the dog."
Before heading off to the tea-leaf reader, she added, “I hope that she is going to say that this is going to be my year, even though it’s the year of the rabbit and not the year of the dog. This is the year that I am going to have complete success in life."
We don’t know why the tea reader’s name was Rebecca O’Donnell, but maybe they needed some Irish luck to go around with the dragons. “The best I can describe about being a tea reader is that everything in the world is connected," O'Donnell said. "You might want to think of it as a hologram. Anything that is a part of you or that you touch in a sense reflects you; it can be tarot cards, it can be your palm, tea leaves, handwriting -- any sort of thing that is a part of you is reflected in the swirling of the tea leaves.”
“What I would like you to do is think of a question, something that you would like insight into and once you have chosen your question, tell me what it is," she told Katy Adams of Yeas and Nays. "I want you to swirl this around two or three times like this and then hand it to me."
O'Donnell starts with fresh tea each time. “Good, I like fresh tea,” said Adams.
“I don’t want you to drink it," said O’Donnell. "It’s not really brewed and not very tasty".
Adams swirled three times to get the answer she wanted, so I guess we can say she cheated a bit.
What did she ask the reader? “ Am I going to get lucky this year?"
No one cared about rabbits across town at Teatro Goldoni, where the reception for Fashion for Paws was underway, co-chaired by Wendy Gordon and Tommy McFly. They both claimed to be born in the Year of the Dog. Right.