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在线翻译:
szdaily -> Travel
Tai Sui, the Year Gods
    2017-August-28  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

James Baquet

jamesbaquet@gmail.com

QUITE a few people in the world are able to identify themselves — at least partially — in the Chinese astrological system. They can say, “I was born in the Year of the Sheep,” or “I’m a Snake in the Chinese Zodiac.”

Far fewer realize that the system actually embraces, not just 12, but actually 60 variations. Why 60? Just take the 12 animals — Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig — and multiply them by the five elements: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. So rather than just being a Sheep, one might be a Wood Sheep (as I am) or a Metal Snake.

For this reason, ancient Chinese tradition divided life into two 60-year cycles. In the first 60 years, one was to be active in the world, outgoing — in other words, “yang.” Then, from age 60 to age 120, one became “yin,” retiring from the world and concentrating on the inner life. Many Confucian cultures still recognize 60 as the most appropriate retirement age.

If a temple visitor is lucky, he might find a bank of small figures ranged along shelves or on a set of tiers. These are the “Tai Sui,” gods said to represent each year. Sometimes, like at Man Mo Temple in Hong Kong, one can pick up papers from a niche under each statue, telling one’s fortune (alas, usually in Chinese characters).

At some temples, the animal is easy to find, as the Sheep year would have the face of a sheep, etc. Each will also have an attribute, like a gourd, a scroll or a sword, representing some aspect of that year’s character.

 

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