Chinese New Year is almost upon us. This falls each year on the New Moon between 21st January and 21st of February and this year is celebrated on 8th February. Traditionally, this festival is a time to honour ancestors and deities. It is a time for families to gather together, then cleanse the house – ridding it of any ill-fortune and making room for good luck.
According to legend, the tradition of the Chinese New Year began when a mythical beast called the Nian troubled villagers, eating them and their children. They would leave food on their doorsteps at the beginning of each year to keep him away. One day a god visited the village and advised them to place red paper on their houses. The villagers realised the Nian was afraid of the colour red so they wore red clothes, hung red lanterns and set off fire crackers to scare him away. The Nian never troubled the village again.
2016 is the year of the Fire Monkey. In Chinese astrology, each year is assigned one of the Five Elements (water, wood, fire, earth and metal) and one of the 12 animals. The Monkey is intelligent, inventive and a good problem solver. He is witty and social in groups but also independent. The Monkey is playful and youthful and symbolises curiosity and creative energy. He represents the unfettered mind freed from inhibitions and guilt. He can also be cunning, opportunistic and untrustworthy.
The year of the Fire Monkey, then, is one in which anything can happen. There is little point in storing things up or making plans this year. The social aspect of the Monkey, his cheeky nature and enthusiasm help us to deal with stresses through open communication and good humour. The Monkey is fast and active and we should follow his lead this year by increasing our activity levels. Help the body to discard its stresses by moving – take up a sport or try walking, yoga or dance.
The year of the Fire Monkey is largely optimistic and should see upturns and growth. However, in our financial concerns, we need to be wise and vigilant to outsmart the monkey and look after our investments. The status of events can change very swiftly this year and we should take care before making changes that may affect our finances, career, family or relationships. Insecurity and trickery abound this year and decisions should be made carefully, using logic rather than emotion.
This year is especially auspicious for inventiveness. This is a time to take risks with new ideas and embrace rebelliousness, guts and bravado. But only for those who can outsmart the trickster Monkey – the slow and dull-witted will struggle.
The year of the Fire Monkey is one in which to enjoy and live life to the full. Happy New Year everybody!