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Chinese New Year Leaps Valentine’s Day

February 13, 2019 1:22 am Published by

Now by the time you force your way through Jakarta traffic and arrive at Ya Udah Bistro you will find these cute little piggies turning cutely on a spit, being roasted to perfection for your culinary delight. Oink oink oink and Happy Valentine’s Day to one and all!


“My husband and I were still young marrieds, four years to our credit.
“He wanted to give me something special and romantic for Valentine’s Day, but didn’t have any good ideas, so he stopped by a supermarket on his commute home from work.
“At the checkout he spied a nice clear vase with splendid purple flowers. ‘Perfect!’ he thought.
“Proudly presenting the roundedcrystal vase with purple carnations, he proclaimed, ‘Happy Valentine’s Day!’
“I graciously accepted his thoughtful and sincere gift. ‘So sweet of you, Howard.’
“Later in the evening, our neighbor, a florist, stopped by. She clutched her throat when she spotted the vase with the lovely flowers. ‘Oh dear, Michelle, I’m so sorry.’
“I blinked. I looked at Howard.
“Howard looked back at me, and shrugged. He obviously didn’t know what she was talking about either.
“‘My sincere condolences’, she went on. ‘Who passed away?’
“‘Nobody died’ Howard volunteered, puzzled. ‘Why do you ask?’
“Now she looked amused, and asked, in her Texas drawl, ‘Well then why do you have cemetery flowers on your table?” she said. A peal of cheeky laughter followed.
“Poor Howard looked so embarrassed. ‘Those are for graves?’
“We both looked closely at the vase, upon which was etched, in small letters,

“‘It’s Howard’s sweet way of wishing me a HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY’ I winked at my neighbor.’
“Now we all had a good laugh.
“He sputtered ‘I was in a hurry… I thought the vase was nice – and the flowers were pretty. Nobody told me…’
“‘I thought they were pretty. How would I know they were funeral flowers?’”

Valentine’s Day 2019, on February 14, lands right in the middle of Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations, which started on February 5.

Piggy & Valentine’s, lovey-dovey: let’s celebrate them together, as a happy duo:

Now lest you object that aligning the slaughter of animals with a day of love, romance & chocolates is in BAD TASTE, let me hasten to assure all readers that a) piggy is in very good taste, as mentioned above

…and b) the origin of St. Valentine’s Day was in fact bloody as bloody blood bloody as can be: the murder of two Christian men — both named Valentine — by Roman Emperor Claudius II,on Feb. 14 of different years, in the 3rd century A.D.

Well Emperor Claudius II and his Roman Empire are KAPUT, history, dust to dust, but the stories of the two brave Christian martyrs live on, with the Catholic Church famed, rich and powerful, celebrating the holy day ofSt. Valentine’s around the world.

The original Feast of Lupercalia was a wild old time in Rome. Celebrated from Feb. 13 to 15, the ceremonies started off with men sacrificing a goat and a dog. Ouch.

Then – get this – theyskinned the animals (double ouch) and whipped women with the hides of the animals they had just slain.

Not your average high school Valentine’s party? No? You sure?

It all made sense, sort of…

What a wild old time – typical of the latter Roman Empire. The men were drunk, and naked. You may find it hard to believe it but young women would actually line up for the men to hit them, believing the whipping would make them fertile. (Sounds more like April Fool’s than Valentine’s).The prevailing belief was that the goddess Juno Februata (hence ‘February’) would inflict her ‘love fever’ on participants. Lupercalia festivities were celebrated February 13 through 15, customarily involved an orgy and sexual excesses, the sacrifice of goats and dogs and the burning of salt meal-cakes prepared by the Vestal Virgins. (Those are in short supply these days – the VV, I mean, not the cakes.)

Then there was lots of sex: a kind of ‘matchmaking lottery’, where young men drew names of women from a jar. Similar to contemporary introductions on, the couple would <ahem> couple up for the duration of the festival — or until somebody threw a bucket of cold water over them.

Similar to Christmas and Easter – both originally pagan holidays – the Christian fathers imposed Law & Order on Lupercalia, calling it ‘St. Valentine’s Day’ and making everybody put their clothes back on. Spoilsports.

Still… St. Valentine’s continues as a day of fertility and love.”


But how about the Year of the Pig? How does that fit in? Well the Chinese do, after all, represent 20% of the world’s population. And the pig, according to Professor Google, ‘represents luck, overall good fortune, wealth, honesty, general prosperity, symbolizing a hard-working, peace-loving person, a truthful, generous, indulgent, patient, reliable, trusting, sincere, giving, sociable person with a large sense of humor and understanding.’ (This is not like any of the pigs I have ever known. Pigs are dangerous, particularly the big big big ones. I’m scared of pigs. Pigs like to eat people: ‘Turn about is fair play’.)

Hahahaha. You eat me, I eat you. This is allegedly how the Mafia gets rid of victims in Italy.

Now the bouncing happy Chinese also believe that if you get born under the zodiac sign for the Pig (1935 / 1947 / 1959 / 1971 / 1983 / 1995) you will turn out with a naive, over-reliant, self-indulgent, gullible, fatalistic, materialistic character. Doesn’t sound like someone I’d like to oink with.

However, culturally pigs are considered very lucky creatures at birth, always being well fed and allowed to roam, cavort, eat and screw… until it’s time for the one-way trip to the slaughterhouse…

Thus, Chinese families often look upon sons born under the zodiac of the Pig as having been fortunate, as they will always seem to have someone or other taking care of them – until it’s time to go to the slaughterhouse, I guess.

Pigs are also said to be a sign of virility; if you want to have lots of children, be a pig, as they bear litters of 12 or 13. You think 12 or 13 kids is too many to have? Huh? What’s the matter with you? Eat some pork knuckle and get your strength up.

Don’t go blowing your dough on overpriced chocolates and smelly flowers. Bring your darling of either sex (or in-between – we don’t care), sit and laugh and wink and drink. Eat heartily and imbibe merrily: talk about a romantic dinner!

No candle-light though. Sorry. Fire hazard.

feast your sweetheart at the Bistro

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