With an extra fifth lunar month this year, have you given a pig’s knuckle to your wife’s parents yet? Folklore academics and fortune tellers call the fifth lunar month the “toxic month” because of inclement seasonal weather and negative miasma. Based on folklore tradition, married daughters will buy pig’s knuckle and noodles for their parents because it promotes long life. Anyone can also eat the dish on the 15th day of the intercalary fifth month (June 7) to improve their luck.
Folklore academic Lin Mao-hsien explains that a lunar year with an intercalary month has 13 months, and because that is an uneven number, it is seen as inauspicious. In addition, the fifth lunar month is generally seen as a “toxic month” during which disease often occurs. These two factors mean that an intercalary fifth month is particularly unwelcome. This is also the reason for the tradition that married daughters should bring their parents pig’s knuckle and noodles prior to the extra month to promote long life. Another tradition says that the dish should be given either prior to the extra month or prior to their parents’ birthday during a year with an extra month. These days, the dish no longer has to be given prior to the month. Any day during the extra month — which ends on July 21 — is OK. The main point is instead to show concern.
Master Huitzu at Fazhi Shengtian Temple in Bali, Taipei County, adds that we can all improve our luck by ourselves on the 15th day of the intercalary month, regardless of whether we are married or eat pork. Non-vegetarians can eat pig’s knuckle and noodles, while vegetarians can replace that with sesame oil noodles and remembering to pray to have their bad luck dispelled and to succeed in their undertakings.
It is preferable to buy a freshly cooked pig’s knuckle rather than buying a fresh one and cooking it at home because that will bring on luck and help dispel disaster by spending money in addition to promoting long life for one’s parents. Apart from pig’s knuckle and noodles or sesame oil noodles, one can also give a birthday peach.
But why married daughters? Master Hui-tzu says that people struggled to make ends meet in the past and women had to eat leftovers. Married daughters could thus bring the dish to their mothers to give them something to eat. Another explanation is that according to folk tradition, a daughter married into another family is superfluous in the same way as an intercalary month is superfluous. Folklore therefore dictates that this tradition should be carried out by married daughters. Hsu Fu-chuan, another academic of folklore, says that this is a longstanding tradition in southern Taiwan, and that pig’s knuckle can be replaced by a red envelope or gold.
Pig’s knuckle vendors say more and more people have been taking out pig’s knuckle lately, and that this is probably a result of this tradition.
(LIBERTY TIMES, TRANSLATED BY PERRY SVENSSON)
Let’s go for a spin in my new set of wheels (4/5) 坐我的新車去兜風吧（四） A: So what do you think of my Mini? B: Well. . . apart from the fact it’s absolutely boiling inside without any air conditioning — and the wind noise is quite loud compared to a modern car — it’s actually pretty cool! It feels a bit like I’m in a go-kart. A: That’s because of the Mini’s ultra-wide wheelbase, which means it handles corners really well. Modified Mini Coopers won the Monte Carlo Rally in 1964, 1965 and 1967. B: Wow! It feels like we’re driving in a piece of automobile history. A: 那麼，你覺得我的迷你車怎麼樣？ B: 嗯……除了車內沒有空調，感覺快被煮熟以外──而且風切聲跟現代汽車比起來有夠大聲──其實真的很酷！有一點感覺像是在卡丁車裡面。 A:
Let’s go for a spin in my new set of wheels (5/5)
坐我的新車去兜風吧（五） A: Can you hear a strange noise? B: Now you mention it, I can hear a faint whirring sound. Also, there’s a slight whiff of burnt rubber. A: Uh-oh! I’d better pull over and take a look... OK, sit tight. I’ll pop the hood and take a look at the engine. B: What’s the prognosis? A: I think the fan belt has worn out and caused the engine to overheat. I’d better call a mechanic... A: 你有聽到一種奇怪的噪音嗎？ B: 既然你說了，我確實有聽到微弱的低沉呼呼聲。另外，我還聞到一點點燒焦的橡膠味。 A: 哦哦！我最好停車檢查一下……。好，你坐穩，我要把引擎蓋打開，看看引擎有沒有問題。 B: 你推斷的病情是什麼？ A: 我想應該是風扇的皮帶破損了，導致引擎過熱。我最好打個電話給維修人員……。 （Edward Jones, Taipei Times／台北時報章厚明譯） English 英文: Chinese 中文:
Pets are an inseparable part of people’s lives in the modern world. About 65 percent of US households have at least one pet. On a psychological level, pet companionship can bring better psychological wellbeing; on a biological level, our furry friends can boost human immunity. According to a report in Psychology Today, a review carried out by researchers from the UK’s University of Manchester found that the companionship of pets can result in better psychological wellbeing for people with mental health conditions. The diabetes research center of the University of Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital analyzed data from over 3 million people,
A: Hello, I’d like to book a table for two please. For 7 o’clock, if possible. B: Certainly, sir. Let me see if I can fit you in. I’m afraid we’re fully booked at that time, but we do have a space at 8pm. A: No problem, 8pm will be fine. B: Thank you. I‘ve reserved you a table for two for 8pm. Just to let you know, we operate a “bring your own” policy for wine, and corkage is NT$50 per bottle. A: OK. See you later on. A: 你好，我想要訂位，兩個人，方便的話晚上七點。 B: 好的，先生。讓我看看能不能幫您安排座位。不好意思，我們那段時間的訂位滿了，不過晚上八點還有空位。 A: 沒問題，晚上八點可以。 B: 謝謝您。我幫您預約晚上八點，兩個人的座位。另外，提醒您本餐廳關於「自行帶酒」的規定，每瓶酒酌收新台幣五十元開瓶費。 A: 好的。我們晚點見。 （Edward Jones,