Senin, 29 September 2008

Year of the Golden Pig - Pig Olympics and Babies

China is all a-buzz with the upcoming Olympics next year with pre-sports events raging across the nation. The creme de la creme of swimmers from all over the country took part in the China Golden Pig Sports Game with highly-trained pig athletes in Ningxiang, central China’s Hunan province last weekend.
Photo Reuters

Farmyard porkers competed in events such as running, swimming, jumping and eating. They sprinted, jumped hoops and dove 6 feet into water from diving boards. At the end of the competition, 3 top pigs were garlanded with medals on-stage by children.

Year of the Golden Pig
According to ancient Chinese custom, we are in year 4705 of the Chinese calendar, marking the Chinese lunar year known as the ‘Golden Pig Year’ — or ‘jin zhu nian’ in Chinese which began on February 18th. Such a year comes only once every 60 years and is said to be auspicious for prosperity, fortune and good health, especially for childbearing.

Although called ‘Chinese’ New Year,’ other Asian countries celebrate the holiday as well. In Vietnam, the lunar New Year is called Tet.

Baby Boom
The particularly propitious year has spawned a baby boom in China, where city-dwellers are only allowed one child. Many have planned their pregnancies around the Year of the Golden Pig in hopes of the most auspicious births.
A newborn bathes at a maternity hospital in Shanghai, where it’s believed
swimming with the aid of a rubber ring calms the babies. Photo Louisa Lim / NPR

“They say children born in the year of the pig will be especially intelligent and healthy, so everybody is rushing to have babies this year.” says Bao Huiyuan, expecting her first child in June..

The city’s maternity beds in Shanghai’s hospitals are booked solid until March.

The city government is warning women to avoid getting pregnant this year. As Huiyuan points out, these piglets will compete for hospital beds and go on competing throughout their lives — for school places, university places and eventually, wives.

“Both adults and children believe pigs are a lucky symbol, which bring fortune and wealth. Their plumpness means prosperity.” said Wu Ying, brand manager for Tenlow snacks in China.

Pigs have been banned from appearing in any ads on the state-run broadcaster CCTV, which has ordered major advertising agencies not to use pig images, cartoons or slogans “to avoid conflicts with ethnic minorities.”

More Pig Olympics
China isn’t the only one touting games for these highly intelligent porkers — Moscow, Russia also holds their version of an annual Pig Olympics, where they compete in 3 major events.
Photo AP

Competitions include the ‘footie,’ running the race track and swimming, organized by the Sport-Pig Federation, which are held every year. Competitors come from various countries including Africa and Ukraine.

The highly skilled pigs won’t end up on anyone’s plate — instead, they’ll breed a new generation of pig athletes

Photo AP

Sources: NPR, BBC and Reuters

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