Monkey Business

monkey

Happy New Year! OK, its Chinese New Year or Spring Festival. Traditionally, the festival is a time to honor deities, as well as ancestors. It’s China’s biggest holiday, and it’s largely about family. And seeing red. No, not as in being angry. Red is considered to be a lucky color, and they hang red paper lanterns and cut-outs in their doors and windows. A common practice of the holiday is the giving of red envelopes, which contain cash. It should be an even number of dollars, but never 4, which is considered unlucky. Other activities include lighting firecrackers to frighten away mythical evil characters.

Each Chinese New Year is characterized by one of 12 animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac. The Chinese zodiac is divided into 12 blocks (or houses) just like its western counterpart, but with the major difference being that each house has a time-length of one year instead of one month. This year is the year of the monkey. People born under the monkey are said to be intelligent and clever, but also mischievous. They are skilled and smart, but have shortcomings like a quick temper and a touch of arrogance. If you don’t know your sign, you can look it up here by the year you were born.

The celebrations begin on New Years Eve, and continue on until the Lantern Festival, which is the 15th day of the New Year. There are both many traditions and taboos involved in this celebration, with regional customs varying. Themes such as good fortune, happiness, wealth and longevity are prominent. They say that however your day goes today, will be a sign of things to come for the rest of the year. So, I hope you’re having a fantastic day, and if you aren’t, it’s not too late to turn it around…

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