If you’re wondering why the Chinese New Year isn’t on January 1st, it’s because they follow the Chinese lunar calendar. This year the Chinese New Year falls on February 8th but the celebrating begins on February 7th (New Years Eve) and continues for seven days.
2016 is the Year of the Monkey—in Chinese astrology, each year is associated with a Chinese zodiac animal sign and one the Five Elements: Gold (Metal), Water, Wood, Fire, or Earth. Both the sign and element of your birth year are said to affect your personality and destiny. 2016 is a “Fire Monkey” year for those born in 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004. The Monkey is considered a a mischievous, quick-witted and sometimes unlucky Chinese animal zodiac. So take note . . .
If you’re a Monkey, the following WILL bring you luck:
Lucky numbers: 4 and 9
Lucky days: the 14th and 28th of any Chinese lunar calendar month
Lucky colors: white, blue, gold
Lucky flowers: chrysanthemum, crape-myrtle
Lucky directions: north, northwest, west
Lucky months: Chinese lunar months 8 and 12
But beware, these things are considered unlucky for Monkeys:
Unlucky colors: red, pink
Unlucky numbers: 2 and 7
Unlucky directions: south, southeast
Unlucky months: Chinese lunar months 7 and 11
But no matter what your Chinese zodiac animal is, you can still ring in the Chinese New Year and attract lots of good fortune your way in the year ahead. The main Chinese New Year traditions are:
Reunion Dinner: This is the equivalent of Thanksgiving dinner in China and considered the most important dinner of the year because family members of many generations come together to celebrate.
Red Envelopes: Since red is considered to be the luckiest color, the Chinese New Year is brought in by giving children and retired seniors red envelopes (with money inside) to pass along good luck to them.
Lucky Foods: While ringing in the Chinese New Year, certain foods are a must to eat. Fish is believed to bring a surplus of money and good luck in the coming year. Other foods include dumplings and rice balls. But, DON’T eat oatmeal, grits or porridge for breakfast—especially if you’re a monkey. Porridge is considered a meal for the poor in China, thus you’ll have a year of poverty.
Firecrackers: When the clock strikes midnight, it’s tradition to set off firecrackers. Usually one string of small firecrackers is set off first, followed by three big firecrackers. This symbolizes “sounding out” the old year and “sounding in” the new year. The louder the big firecrackers, the better and luckier things will be in the year ahead.
But none of these “lucky” traditions mean anything if you do these “unlucky” things while ringing in the Year of the Monkey:
- Washing your hair during the first three days, otherwise you’re “sweeping your good luck away.”
- Allowing your child to cry
- Begging for anything or taking out a loan of any sort
- Wearing underwear in a color OTHER than red — red is believed to ward off bad luck, especially if you’re born in the Year of the Monkey!
Happy New Year!