“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”
— Mark Twain

Get a new concubine – A Year of the Rooster Tradition Not Much Talked About These Days

Posted: February 7th, 2017 | 2 Comments »

Welcome to the Year of the Rooster – or the cock as they used to say till the sniggering got too loud. Many things associated with roosters so the superstitious tell me – leadership qualities, independence of thought etc etc blah blah. But one tradition from the Year of the Rooster seems not to be mentioned much these days, but it’s quite exciting – you may take a new concubine!

1921 was the year of the rooster and Elisabetta Cerruti (below), the new wife of the Italian Ambassador to China, Vittorio Cerruti (who, i think, was a generally OK bloke and later got on the wrong side of Mussolini for being soft on the French, not pro-Mussolini cult enough and decided to retire in 1938 rather than continue), was settling in at the rather sumptuous Italian Legation in Peking. Here’s her version of the tradition:

‘The cock is a malevolent force; yet, in spite of that, on the day he rules, the head of the family may take a new concubine, while the first wife on this day, which must be so disagreeable to her, is advised to weave silk, take medicine, and drink generously of new wine.’

Well…indeed…not sure how much new concubine taking, weaving of silk or supping repeatedly at a decent Merlot has been going on these last couple of weeks in China?


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2 Comments on “Get a new concubine – A Year of the Rooster Tradition Not Much Talked About These Days”

  1. 1 Mike Kosir said at 4:17 am on February 8th, 2017:

    Hello, Paul,
    Interesting article, thanks, not sure it’d work for me today, though.
    I have a query. Just starting out on what I’m thinking will be a longer piece of fiction taking place in Chengtu and Chungking (please allow that I am using period spelling) roughly 1925-1930. Any site you know of exhibiting historical photographs of this period and these places? I have a lead on some, but I will probably have to travel to access archives. Input appreciated.

  2. 2 paul French said at 5:40 pm on February 8th, 2017:

    tried here – http://visualisingchina.net/ ??

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