Year of the Fire Monkey

Chinese New Year: Year of the Fire Monkey2016-year-of-the-monkey

Chinese New Year is based upon the lunar calendar and corresponds to the new moon, this year beginning on February 8th. Also called the Spring Festival it is the main Chinese festival of the year. Traditionally New Year celebrations last for fifteen days, ending on the date of the full moon with the Lantern Festival.

Traditions to usher good fortune into the New Year:

Clean the House: rid any bad luck from last year and make way for good luck in the new year on the eve of the new year.

Good luck plants:  Kumquat tree and peach blossom.

Food:  Fish is usually eaten on the eve of Chinese New Year along with dumplings which ‘package’ luck.  This is one holiday you don’t have to watch your waistline- candy is encouraged to bring forth a “sweet” year to come.

Color:  Red is to be worn as it symbolizes joy. Wear new clothes. Out with the old, in with the new – particularly if they are bright, happy colors. Red symbolizes prosperity, so monkeys are advised to wear red (underwear included) to up their good fortune quotients.

Lucky Money: is given out in red envelopes (“hongbao”) with the family name and good-luck message written on them in gold. Settle debts by New Year.

Open Windows: to ‘bring in’ the good luck of the New Year.

2016 Year of the Fire Monkey

(Written by Narrye Caldwell) There are two significant energetic shifts that will affect everyone this year. The first is that we’re moving into a Fire year after two Wood years. Wood is growth, enthusiasm, the innocence of youth and the pursuit of a vision. Wood qi is fresh and unformed. It has the drive to break through barriers, but it lacks wisdom and refinement, so can sometimes be unstable and reckless. Fire qi is the full expression of Wood’s vision. Fire brings forth the rose, lays the paint on the canvas, and gives voice to the song that’s been forming in the depths of your heart. Fire is intense, passionate, and calls forth our need to connect with one another. In a Fire year, no longer satisfied with the pursuit of our dreams, we now can bring things into actuality. And as we see things manifest, we want to gather with our tribe, raise a glass and celebrate.

But it’s important to remember that nothing is solid yet and there’s much to be done. In fact, the danger now is getting so excited by the brilliance of the flame you’ve created, that you forget to tend it properly and it quickly burns out for lack of enduring and consistent fuel. Fire is erratic and difficult to control. It can flicker precariously, burst into a dangerous conflagration, or settle into a nice steady hearth fire depending on how it’s managed. So that’s your first task this year—whatever you’ve created during the last two years, treat it now like precious tinder; protect it and blow on it very gently to nudge it into a nice steady flame; feed it with long burning fuel that will last. Don’t throw fast burning paper onto it just for the dazzling but short lived burst of heat and flame. Slow and steady now, will get you a more enduring result.

Now, what about that second energetic shift? Enter the Monkey

The key to grasping the qi we’re all going to be surfing can be found in the Chinese classic novel of the 16th century “Journey to the West.” One of the famous characters in this legendary tale is the Monkey King who demonstrates a combination of pluck, bravery, scandalous irreverence, ingenuity, ruthlessness, and magic to assure his status as one of China’s epic folk heroes. The Monkey King was born from a stone, learns the ways of immortality, commits a series of crimes against the gods, steals the peach of immortality from the Empress’s garden, and catalyzes a terrible war between Heaven and the Monkey Army. In the end, he is sent to accompany a famous monk and his disciples to the western kingdom to fetch back a Buddhist sacred text. All sorts of magical adventures ensue over the course of four volumes.

The point here is this is the qi flavor of the coming year. Key words are: erratic, irrepressible, ingenious, clever, unpredictable, resourceful, adventurous, selfish, magical, quixotic, amoral. In other words, keep your wits about you because anything, absolutely anything, can happen. All manner of apple carts could be turned over in the most surprising ways. This will be a test of your ability to stay calm and unruffled in the face of relentless and unexpected challenges. But remember—on the other side of chaos is magic and transformation.

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