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Tuesday, February 9, 2016
Gong Xi Fa Cai!
I'm a day late with this but Gong Xi Fa Cai! Happy New Year!
Yesterday, February 8, marked the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year, which this year is the Year of the Fire Monkey. The Chinese calendar assigns an animal entity to each year on a rotating zodiac of twelve animals: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. Based on their reading of astrology, each of those animals controls certain characteristics that are attributed to people who are born in their years. Thus, people born in a Year of the Monkey are said to be intelligent, witty, curious, and playful.
Can you see that I'm blushing as I type that? Yes, it's true. I was born in a Year of the Monkey mumble, mumble years ago, so this is my year! I'm looking forward to it.
Though China officially operates on the international Gregorian calendar, this traditional lunisolar calendar still has ceremonial significance for them. Every year around the new moon closest to the beginning of spring, the Chinese ring in the beginning of a new annual cycle, as a celebration that honors their ancestors and prepares for good fortune to come.
These days, the Chinese New Year is celebrated around the world. Schools in New York City are closed for the holiday. It is observed by Vietnamese, Koreans, Tibetans, and by many who really have no cultural link to the holiday. Like me. Gong Xi Fa Cai!