The Year of the Pig -- Fun Facts, Craft Round-Up and Book Review

Disclosure: Tuttle Publishing sent me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

It is officially the Year of the Earth Pig according to the Chinese Zodiac. I thought it would be fun to celebrate the Chinese New Year with a look at fun facts about pigs as well as the Year of the Pig and of course some pig crafts and a fun Chinese pig story. We will start with fun facts about pigs!!

Fun Facts about Pigs

  1. March 1st is National Pig Day.
  2. Domesticated pigs run up to 11 mph and wild pigs run up to 31 mph, but they run in a zig zag and not a straight line.
  3. They have bad eye sight and amazing sense of smell.
  4. They are one of the smartest domesticated animals and are smarter than dogs, some primates and children under age 3. They are the third smartest animals after apes and dolphins.
  5. They like mud to cool them off because they cannot sweat. So if tell someone they are “sweating like a pig,” it means they are not sweating at all.
  6. Cochon Corse-du-Sud
    Pig Resting in Mud Photo: Myrabella / Wikimedia Commons

  7. Newborn piglets learn their mother’s voice and their name by two weeks old. Some sows have been known to sing their babies lullabies while nursing.
  8. A pig’s squeal can be as loud as 115 decibels which is 3 decibels higher than the sound of a supersonic airliner. Pigs talk to one another. They have 20 different vocalizations to say different things from mating to “I’m hungry.”
  9. Pigs will eat anything. All that was left of a farmer who had a heartache in the pig pen was his dentures when a relative came looking for him.
  10. They like to sleep nose to nose and cuddle. They also dream.
  11. Pigs can swim. Wild pigs on the uninhabited island, Big Major Cay, in the Bahamas swim out to boats in hopes of getting rewards.
  12. Pigs on the beach
    Pigs swimming in the Bahamas cdorobek [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

  13. Pigs were the first animal to be domesticated. It is believed that they were domesticated about 6000 years ago. The first written record is from 3468 BC.
  14. Bacon is one of the oldest meats. It dates back to 1500 BC. The saying “Bringing home the bacon” dates back to the 12th century when a church in England rewarded a man with bacon if he could swear he had not fought with his wife for a whole year. The men who brought home bacon were highly respected in the community.  
  15. Pigs are clean animals. Although they roll in the mud to cool off, they actually potty train themselves and keep their pens relatively clean.
  16. Pigs are not just used for meat. Some of their by-products are used to make gelatin (and thus marshmallows) as well as their hair is used for high quality paint brushes.

Last week I shared some fun facts about the Chinese New Year. Something I find fascinating is how each year when I research it I learn a bit more about it. There is always something I hadn't learned previously. I also shared my past resources for the Chinese New Year and how we "celebrated." This year is the Year of the Pig. People born in the Year of the Pig are known as pigs when talking about their Zodiac traits. 

Fun Facts about the Year of the Pig

  1. This Year of the Pig lasts from February 5, 2019 to January 25, 2020. It is the Year of the Earth Pig which comes every 60 years. The other types of Year of the Pig are Wood, Fire, Metal and Water.
  2. The pig is the twelfth of the zodiac animals. The legends say he was late for the emperor’s party because he overslept or because a wolf blew down his house and he had to rebuild it before going to the party.
  3. Moganshan Chinese zodiac pig 20090912 4855
    Statue of the Pig in the Chinese Zodiac in Park at Mount Mogan Jakub Hałun [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons

  4. In the Chinese culture pigs are a sign of wealth.
  5. People born in the year of the pig are very realistic and do not always stand out. They are often the doers of the group and not the talkers.
  6. People born in the year of the pig are a bit materialistic but this motivates them to work harder. They are energetic and enthusiastic about everything including the most boring jobs.
  7. People born in the year of the pig are gentle and rarely lose their tempers. They want to live in harmony and are suited for careers in charity and fundraising.
  8. They have a calm appearance, strong heart, and are natural nurturers. They however are also naïve and too sensitive.
  9. The pig or boar symbolized abundance and benevolence to the ancient Chinese.
  10. In China pigs are not considered smart animals. They like eating and sleeping. They are seen as lazy and clumsy. However, pigs behave themselves and do not harm others and can bring affluence to others. Thus, they symbolize wealth.
  11. Earth pigs are good at socializing and maintaining interpersonal relationships. 

Chinese paper cutting-Pig
Chinese paper cutting-Pig Made by Fanghong [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons


Now before we go onto the fun craft round-up, I wanted to share with you a bit of the Chinese culture and the Year of the Pig. I contacted my friend at Tuttle Publishing and she sent me this beautiful book to go with the Year of the Pig.

The book is The Little Pigs and the Sweet Rice Cakes by Li Jian. The story is both in English and Chinese. I have had the pleasure of reviewing several of Li Jian's books and have loved them all. I especially love the stories for the Chinese Zodiac. In this story there are three pig siblings--two brothers and a sister. They go out for the day and when they return they smell something delicious coming from their house and discover a plate of sweet rice cakes. The hungry little pigs devour them and then Mama Pig comes home and the little pigs try to deny eating the sweet cakes, but Mama is too smart for them. She explains she is not mad they ate the cakes but made they tried to lie to her. However what is a mama to do but make more sweet rice cakes and this time the little pigs help. 

I love how so much of the Chinese culture is put into the books. The story includes the god of the kitchen as well as other culture things and a recipe to make the sweet rice cakes! I have not tried it myself yet though. The illustrations are simple and fun with lots of color. I also love how the Chinese words are there with the English ones. It is a true mix of the two cultures. It is a wonderful way to learn a bit more about the Chinese culture and the beliefs about pigs. 

Pig Craft Round-Up

Now what would a fun facts be without some fun crafts. Before I share the round-up of crafts from fellow bloggers I wanted to share my cute needle felted pig(let). It was suppose to be a piglet at least, but I think I made him a bit big.

I used the instructions to make him in Sweet & Simple Needle Felted Animals and used roving from My Craft Felt. I reviewed both previously. Hazel has taken to needle felting and I have not had as much time to get at the tools lately since she is always using them. But that is really what they are there for now. I still need to give my little pig some eyes too. I will use some seed beads for it.

1) Pigs in Chocolate Mud Goop from Homeschooling my Kinetic Kids
2) Pink Pig Ice Cream Cones from Gluesticks by Brandy Nelson
3) Pig Corner Bookmark from Red Ted Art
4) Muddy Pig Sensory Art for Toddlers from Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds
5) Paper Plate Pig from Simple Everyday Mom
6) 3D Paper Pig Craft from Twitchetts
7) Paper Heart Pig
8) Paper Plate Pig
9) Piggie Mask (from Piggie and Elephant series)
10) Pig Cootie Catcher from Red Ted Art
11) Pig Book Hugger from Organized 31
12) Piggy Mask with Printable from Red Ted Art
13) Make Friends with Piggy from Babies to Bookworms
14) Pig Wind Sock from Buggy and Buddy
15) Toilet Paper Roll Pig Craft from Red Ted Art
16) Scented Painting Muddy Pigs from From ABC's to ACT's

So what are you doing to learn about pigs and celebrate the Year of the Pigs?