Monday marked the start of the Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival. It begins at the start of the lunar year which is based on movements of both the sun and moon and takes place sometime between the end of January and mid-February. It is unclear when the exact celebration of the Chinese New Year began, but it is believed to date back to the Shang dynasty (1600-1100 BC.) According to legend, a wild beast named Nien (or "year), would attack towns and villages harming people, livestock, and property. Nien was said to fear the color red, loud noises, and bright lights, so this is how people would ward him off.
While the Lunar New Year is rooted in religious traditions, it has largely become a cultural celebration where families and friends gather to eat good food, set intentions of health and prosperity in the coming year, and participate in cultural festivities. These festivities, which last 15 days after the first day, continue to be bright and loud, with red being the adorning color. To build good luck for the coming year, some families avoid doing certain things on the first day, such as washing laundry, taking out trash, or handling knives. Some people avoid wearing old or damaged clothing so that they don't carry bad luck with them into the new year.
This year is the year of the monkey. While the Western zodiac system is divided into twelve months, the Chinese zodiac is divided into 12 years, each year represented by an animal. People born within the year of a certain animal are said to carry some of the same personality traits. If you were born in a monkey year, which is the 9th animal in the cycle, you might be intelligent, clever, and gregarious, but often mischievous and can get a little arrogant. You're probably curious, observant, and are able to use your imagination to solve complex problems. You have a wonderful sense of humor and are great in social situations. Sounds like a monkey, right? You're a monkey if you were born in the following years and if you're having a baby this year, well, you're gonna have a little monkey on your hands!
Interested in learning about your Chinese zodiac sign according to your birth year? Here is a list of personality traits of you and your animal:
- Year of the Rat: (1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008) Don't be disheartened if you're a rat! Rats are extremely creative and imaginative. You are a hard worker and great at problem solving and respected for your resourcefulness. Rats are also intuitive and able to acquire and hold things of value. You have an outwardly appealing personality, but can be crafty and opportunistic at times. In financial matters, you might be parsimonious when money is tight, and spend lavishly in times of plenty.
- Year of the Ox: (1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009) Oh the Ox! You guys are peace loving, gentle, and trusting. You tend to be on the conservative side but also accept others for what they are. You might not be the most romantic of the zodiac signs, but there is no lack of affection for a few of your close friends and family members. In business, you often bring prosperity - not through entrepreneurial imagination and risk, but as a result of logical thought, resolute practicality, and honest endurance.
- Year of the Tiger: (1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010) Are you a Tiger? Of course you are. You are strong, noble, and courageous. Your assertiveness brings you good fortune in business and romance. Tigers are energetic and exciting and not afraid of taking risks. But be careful, Tiger, you can be a bit self-centered and short tempered. Underneath, however, you are very warm-hearted and gentle.
- Year of the Rabbit: (1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011) Personality traits of yours, sweet Rabbit, are creative, compassionate, and sensitive. Rabbits are friendly, outgoing, and prefer the company of others. They also tend to avoid conflict. In confrontational situations, Rabbits approach calmly and with consideration for the other party. Rabbits believe strongly in friends and family and are most comfortable at home. The desire for remaining in safe, comfortable environments keeps Rabbits from taking risks which sometimes causes them to miss out on good opportunities.
- Year of the Dragon: (1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012) The Dragon is the only mythical animal in the Chinese zodiac, which is interesting. If you are a Dragon, you may possess such character traits as dominance and ambition and are considered lucky and gifted. You are driven, unafraid of challenges, and willing to take risks, making you a natural leader. Dragons are passionate in all they do and they do things in grand fashion. Unfortunately, this passion and enthusiasm can leave Dragons feeling exhausted and interestingly, unfulfilled. While Dragons frequently help others, rarely will they ask for help. Others are attracted to Dragons, especially their colorful personalities, but deep down, Dragons prefer to be alone.
- Year of the Snake: (1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013) Intellectual, quick-witted, passionate, and graceful, you certainly are a refined creature. Women, in particular, born in the year of the snake are noted for their brains and beauty. Snakes are extremely analytical and as a result, they don’t jump into situations. They are effective at getting the things they want, even if it means they have to scheme and plot along the way. Snakes are materialistic creatures, preferring to surround themselves with the finest that life has to offer. This is especially evident in the home, where luxurious furnishings and surroundings help Snakes seek the peace they need in order to thrive.
- Year of the Horse: (1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014) Horses symbolize such character traits as strength, energy, and an outgoing nature. If you are a Horse, you might be super animated and don't mind being the center of attention. Always in search of a good time, Horses keep the crowds happy with their humor and their wit. Horses are extremely intelligent so they’re able to grasp new subjects with ease. They’re also capable of multi-tasking however they don’t always finish what they start because they’re forever chasing the next opportunity. Horses are honest, friendly and open-minded. They’re perhaps a bit too centered on themselves and have been known to throw tantrums when situations don’t go their way.
- Year of the Goat: (1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015) If you are a goat you are considered creative, intelligent, dependable, and calm. Comfortable being alone to ponder the workings of your inner mind, you do enjoy being part of a group in work or socially, but prefer the sidelines rather than the center. Your nurturing personality makes you excellent care-givers. You tend to be reserved because you spend much time absorbed in your thoughts. Home and alone is where Goats feel most comfortable. There they can express themselves artistically, whether it’s by painting, cooking or participating in whatever artistic endeavors they enjoy.
- Year of the Rooster: (1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005) Being a rooster, you exhibit confidence, pride, and motivation. Those born under this sign are loyal and trustworthy individuals who are blunt when it comes to offering their opinions. Their bluntness stems not from being mean but from being honest; a trait which Roosters expect from others. Roosters are extremely sociable and prefer being the center of attention, always bragging about themselves and their accomplishments. They certainly like attention! Roosters are as proud of their homes as they are of themselves. They’re extremely organized individuals as evidenced by the fact that their homes are always neat.
- Year of the Dog: (1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006) Of course you are loyal, honest, compassionate, and kind if you were born in the year of the dog. Dogs value friendship and offer kind words and useful advice, always listening and lending a shoulder when necessary. You are determined individuals and are good at seeing projects through from start to finish. Dogs often become deeply involved in others’ lives and are sometimes perceived as nosy, but really, ensuring others' happiness is more important to them than wealth, money, or success.
- Year of the Pig: (1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007) Everyone enjoys the company of a pig. Pigs are generous, loyal, diligent, and great entertainers. They are giving in nature and genuinely enjoy being able to help others, but in some cases might be taken advantage of because of this. If you are a pig, you might be more comfortable as the helper, and don't often ask for help when you need it and can become stressed or overwhelmed. Pigs are all around good-natured and also enjoy spending money.
I hope this Lunar New Year brings you good health and happiness, and for all you Monkeys out there, enjoy your special year! It won't be back again for 12 more!