Thursday, February 3, 2011
Lapin ou chat
Today rings in the lunar New Year for many East Asian cultures. Most will probably say it's the Chinese New Year, but really, many Asian cultures follow this calendar, and its requisite cycle of astrological animals in the 12 year cycle. While the Chinese call it the Year of the Rabbit, in Vietnam (for the feast of Tet) celebrate the Year of the Cat (a sign missing from Chinese astrology).
Which sort of reminds me of an anecdote. I had observed that, in France, rabbits dressed for sale in butcher shops are cleaned and skinned, save for the head and paws. You have these furry bunny heads attached to ready to cook meat. When I inquired from a French colleague about this rather macabre, custom, he explained (read with a heavy French accent):
"Because if you don't keep the head, you cannot tell a rabbit from a cat."