Happy Chinese New Year — Monday, Feb. 8, 2016!
Also known as the Spring Festival, Chinese New Year is the most important social and economic holiday in China. That makes it one of the largest holiday celebrations in the world.
And it's based on astrology. Chinese Astrology that is.
For more than 3,000 years, China has celebrated the coming of spring on the second New Moon after the Winter Solstice (what Western astrologers call the New Moon in Aquarius).
It's a time to gather with family and friends, say goodbye to the old and make room for the new. What you do during this New Moon sticks with you all year round — so choose your actions wisely!
Say Hello to the Red Fire Monkey
2016 begins the Year of the Red Fire Monkey. Like its animal totem, Monkeys are clever and quick, curious and a bit mischievous. Those who emulate the Monkey will prosper this year.
Business success favors those who can move fast, make intuitive leaps, and find innovative and unconventional solutions. Flexibility and taking risks are rewarded, as well as adapting quickly to setbacks or changing conditions.
Monkey years are also high-stress years. Like a game of musical chairs, there's an undercurrent of scrambling to get the best seat before it's too late. You may need to remind yourself to slow down and not act on unsubstantiated emotions or unrealistic fears.
Couch potato is definitely not on the Monkey menu. You'll need to keep moving to burn off the extra energy. If you don't have an exercise plan, it's time to get one. A healthy diet too; lots of fruits and veggies appeal to the Monkey-on-the-Go. You'll need a healthy, balanced routine to handle the high-energy Monkey without frazzle nerves.
But beware: deceptions and con artists also thrive during Monkey years. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Keep your wits about you.
Chinese years are also assigned a polarity (Yin or Yang) and a Chinese element (Fire, Earth, Metal, Water or Wood.) 2016 is a Yang Fire year — both of which intensify the Monkey's natural exuberance.
Yang is the active, outgoing polarity. It's direct and eager to accomplish something in the world.
Fire is energetic, creative, passionate and quixotic. It's social and dramatic (even melodramatic). But it's also easily distracted or angered. And prone to burn out, if not tempered with some common sense.
The color associated with fire is red, making red the most fortunate color for the year.
Auspicious Pursuits During the New Year
What happens on the New Year portends events for the entire coming year. Here are a few traditional activities to cultivate good fortunate and make it last throughout the year.
- Clean and clear your home and office space several days BEFORE the New Moon. The Chinese New Year brings in a fresh wave of fortunate energy, and you don't want clutter getting in the way.
- Share a meal with your family and friends. Mandarin oranges symbolize good fortune. Red pouches or envelopes filled with money or coins also herald a prosperous New Year.
- Wear red or red accessories to attract wealth and good fortune.
- Pay off your bills and debts from the past year. If you can't pay them completely, pay an installment as a sign of your commitment to positive action.
Since what you do on the New Year is representative of what you want for the entire year, here's a few things on the DO NOT DO list:
- Don't clean your house, wash your clothes or your hair. These things symbolically wash away your good fortune.
- Don't borrow or lend money, unless you want to make it a habit.
- Don't cry. Unless you want grief and sadness to follow you all year.
- Don't wear white or black clothes.
About Chinese Astrology
Here's a bit of trivia for the astrologically curious:
In Chinese astrology, each year is governed by one of the 12 signs of the Chinese zodiac. The Chinese zodiac is based on the 12-year cycle of Jupiter; Jupiter spends approximately one year in each of the 12 signs.
The animals of the Chinese Zodiac are (in order): Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig.
There are five Elements in Chinese astrology, known as Wu Xing. These are Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood. Each of these elements is related to the five visible planets: Mars=Fire, Saturn=Earth, Venus=Metal, Mercury=Water and Jupiter=Wood.