It’s September, which means that we’ll soon say goodbye to another staggeringly fast-moving year while we rush headlong into 2019. And shortly after we ring in the New Year, the Chinese will be ringing in their own. In the Chinese zodiac calendar, 2019 is the Year of the Pig – the last sign in the ancient 12-year lunar cycle. The upcoming Year of the Pig has us thinking, is this sacred animal honored in any other cultures throughout the world?
Come to find out, pigs in their various forms – from wild boars to domesticated swine – have been used as powerful symbols of prosperity, wealth and abundance for thousands of years. So let’s take a walk through history and discover how the humble pig became a sacred icon in religion and culture all over the world.
Pigs in Ancient Egypt
In early Egyptian cultures, the pig was seen as the Great Mother, symbolizing abundance. The pig was sacred to Isis, the goddess of agriculture who personified fertility. It served as a sacrificial animal and votive to the gods throughout all of Ancient Egypt.
Pig symbolism in Ancient Greece
The Greeks would sacrifice pigs to agriculture and farming goddesses such as Gaia, Ares, and Demeter in order to ensure favorable growing seasons and successful crops. Aristotle himself wrote about pigs’ high intellect, calling them, “the animals most like people.”
Pigs were prominent in Celtic cultures
To the ancient Celts, the pig was an icon of fertility, strength, prosperity, and abundance. Celtic lore associated pigs with abundance because they were forever replenishing their numbers with large litters. Pigs were regularly sacrificed to the fertility moon goddesses Phaea and Ceridwen. On the other hand, the boar represented masculine power, courage, and strength in warriors, and the boar’s bristles were said to possess magical powers.
Native American pig totems
Native American plains tribes considered the pig a harbinger of rain, which fertilized the earth. Therefore, the symbolic meaning of pigs in Native American culture is linked to, you guessed it, abundance, fertility, and agriculture.
Pigs in the Chinese zodiac
The Pig figures heavily in Chinese culture as a symbol of luck, prosperity, fortune, and wealth. The Year of the Pig is the last sign in the 12-year ancient Chinese lunar cycle. The birth years for people ruled by the Chinese Lunar pig include 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007 and 2019. Those born in the year of this sign are said to be honest, loyal, and generous.
Which brings us to…
Our September giveaway!
Were you born in the year of the pig? If not, what Chinese zodiac sign were you born under? Commenting below will serve as your entry for our September giveaway. Submit your comment (one comment only please) by September 30th, and one winner will be randomly selected on October 1st to receive a 2019 1/20 oz Gold Lunar Year of the Pig coin from the Perth Mint!
In 1996, the Perth Mint began a series of gold coins celebrating the Chinese zodiac. The inaugural Year of the Mouse began a 12-year cycle featuring a new animal each year. The first 12 years were called the Lunar I series. In 2008, the 12-animal cycle restarted to create the Lunar II series. Meticulously struck in .9999 pure gold, this stunning 1/20 oz 2019 Year of the Pig coin features a domesticated pig standing among a beautiful foliage backdrop.
*(Inappropriate comments will be deleted and disqualified.)