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Year of the Pig: Is it really a problem?

Communities around the world are gearing up to celebrate the lunar new year, which this time ushers in the Year of the Pig.

New Year celebrations usually mean the animal is depicted everywhere — in decorations, toys, gifts and advertising.

But the pig, the last animal on the Chinese zodiac calendar, is considered unclean by Muslims and a sin to consume. So does this cause problems for people celebrating lunar new year in Muslim-majority countries in South East Asia?

Like most Chinese-Malaysian families, the lunar new year is serious business for the Chow family, who live in the sleepy town of Batu Pahat in Johor, Malaysia.

This year is particularly significant because Chow Yoon Kee, his wife Stella and their daughter were all born in pig years.

«We will display lots of lucky pig ornaments at home and of course, have our relatives, friends, workers and neighbours over to visit, no matter what race or religion. Celebrations are for all,» said Mr Chow, a floor manager at a local biscuit factory.

He isn’t worried about his celebrations offending fellow residents as he believes there is no sign of new year controversy.

«There was a lot of fuss last year,» he recalls, when it was the Year of the Dog, also seen as impure animals by some Muslims.

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