• Short Summary

    Throughout the Far East millions of Asians prepared to welcome in the "luhar" new year which begins Tuesday.

  • Description

    Throughout the Far East millions of Asians prepared to welcome in the "luhar" new year which begins Tuesday.

    According to the lunar calendar, the Year of the Pig has been replaced by the Year of the Rat.

    As it happens, the Year of the Rat is viewed rather ominously by the Chinese who call it a "blind year." Many Asians, inclined toward mysticism and superstition, are contemplating the next twelve months with a good measure of foreboding. So people are rushing to get married, while others are praying for peace and prosperity in the new year.

    SYNOPSIS: Honk Kong has been busy over the last few days as its residents prepared to welcome in the lunar new year. The Year of the Pig has come to an end and has been replaced by the Year of the Rat, which according to Chinese tradition, could prove to be a rather ominous one.

    For many Asians mysticism and superstition play important roles in everyday life. Thus, the coming year is being contemplated with a good deal of foreboding. People have crowded into temples to pray for good times ahead. While others have decided that the time is right for a visit to the local fortune teller who, after intricate calculations, always manages to produce the requested forecast.

    Since the Year of the Rat is regarded as a bad time to get married, many young couples rushed to complete the ceremony before the Year of the Pig came to a close. Moreover, astrologers have warned people to prepare for the worst. And their predictions of gloom have led to increased efforts at appeasing the spirits. Following Chinese tradition, married men are buying packets to place good luck coins in. Other feel it is unlucky to go into the new year without a new pair of shoes.

    If it is bad luck to retain one's old shoes, then it is equally risky to retain last year's growth of hair. Despite the inflated prices at this time of year, Hong Kong hair dressers have been doing a brisk business. Finally, no Chinese household would consider starting off a year predicted to be one of chaos and economic recession without first purchasing a kumquat tree...the symbol of prosperity and good luck. Businessmen have been paying high prices for the trees, hoping the Year of the Rat will prove to be less sinister than the name would imply.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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