Welcoming the Year of the Monkey
Chinese communities around the world celebrate their annual New Year tradition. Although the colorful festivities are familiar to most of us, the details surrounding it are not well-known.
Unlike the traditional New Year’s Day, the Chinese New Year doesn’t have any specific date for celebration. While China utilized the Gregorian calendar since 1912, they celebrate Chinese New Year based on the ancient lunar calendar. Thus, it would fall on the 2nd new moon after the winter solstice — that is, between 21st of January and 19th of February. Hence, this year, it is celebrated on 8th of February.
Chinese New Year isn’t only celebrated in China, but in other parts of the world as well; where there is a large Chinese population. Examples of these countries are Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, and etc. Outside Asia, the China town in London throws a grand celebration; having a parade through the city.
More often than not, the New Year is celebrated with reunions, parades, gift-giving, and elaborate dinners. But the essential item for celebrating the coming of the New Year is to wear red clothing, which is believed to scare of a mythical monster called Nian. Traditionally, children are given red envelopes that have money inside which is thought to give good fortune and happiness.
It is the year of the monkey — the 9th of 12 Chinese zodiacs, where years are represented by an animal. They are also assigned elements to each New Year: gold (metal), wood, fire, and earth. The year 2016, therefore, is represented by the fire monkey.
Each zodiac animal has its lucky items. Lucky colors for the year of the monkey are white, blue, and gold. Lucky numbers, on the other hand, are 4 and 9; while, chrysanthemum and crape-myrtle are the lucky flowers.
Aside from that, personalities are also predicted for each zodiac animal. For instance, those who are born in the Year of the Monkey are characterized as quick-witted, lively, mischievous, innovative, and curious. However, it is also believed to be among the most unlucky years in the Chinese calendar. Generally, people in this zodiac are viewed as smart, intelligent, and clever, especially in wealth and career. Moreover, their honesty and gentleness brings them an everlasting love life. While they have skills that could make you jealous, they also have their shortcomings — temper and their tendency to look down on other people.