Gong Xi Fa Cai! Wishing you prosperity in the coming year!
The lunar new year, or Chinese New Year, began yesterday, February 8. Celebrated in all countries and territories with significant Chinese populations, the Lunar New Year is the major holiday of the Chinese year. Not only are family and ancestors celebrated, but Chinese deities are as well. And, just as Christmas is associated with special foods, colors and traditions, so is the Lunar New Year. The primary color for celebration is red, but anything gold or resembling gold (representing good fortune and prosperity) is also used in abundance. There are also long lists of traditional do’s and don’ts for the New Year, such as eating fish or oranges on the first day, or not sweeping your house or washing your hair during the first two days.
When our girls were little, they always wore traditional Chinese dress for the New Year, but these days they are happy just to get their hongbao, or “lucky red envelope.” These small envelopes always contain money, and are given by family members to all unmarried children.
2016 is a monkey year, the ninth animal in the Chinese zodiac. Although people born in a monkey year are considered to be lively, generous, sociable, quick-witted and innovative, monkey years are believed to be the most unlucky in the Chinese calendar. Monkey years are not considered advantageous for making big financial decisions for most people, but those born in sheep, ox, snake or dragon years should do well, as those animals get along well with monkeys. Ironically, those born in a monkey year are not predicted to fare well (supposedly those born with the same zodiac sign as the year’s designated animal will have a particularly difficult year) as are those born in rabbit, tiger and pig years.
Brett and I will hopefully break even. He was born in a tiger year, but I’m a dragon. Hopefully my good fortune this year will counteract any bad that comes his way.
Xian Nian Kuai Le! Happy New Year! Welcome the Year of the Monkey!