This week saw the arrival of Chinese New Year, with celebrations around the word kicking off on Monday 8 February and lasting through until 27 February.
In the Chinese calendar, each year is associated with one of 12 Chinese zodiac animals and one of five elements. Therefore, according to the Chinese zodiac, 2016 is The Year of the Monkey, and not just any monkey, but the Red Fire Monkey to be precise.
While the monkey is seen as resourceful, witty, curious and innovative, and those born under the sign are said to share these characteristics, it is expected the year will be full of reinvention and vitality with the fire element adding a powerful and fast paced dynamic to the next 12 months.
However, the bad news is that the Year of the Monkey is believed to be one of the most unlucky years in the Chinese calendar, and especially so for those of the monkey sign who are warned to take extra care with their health, career, money and relationships.
Thankfully, our friends and Chinese zodiac experts at Hong Kong Tourism Board have shared some wise and traditional advice to ward off bad luck and ensure good fortune in the Year of the Monkey!
Ten Auspicious Customs to Follow For a Prosperous Year of the Monkey, as advised by Hong Kong Tourism Board:
1. Wear red – Associated with joy, happiness, good luck, wealth and good fortune, red also symbolises fire and can ward off evil spirits.
2. Smile and speak only good things – Greeting everyone you see with a big smile and a blessing will bring you happiness and an upbeat spirit for the New Year.
3. Give thanks to the spirits and pray for good fortune – During Chinese New Year, go to a temple to give thanks for the past 12 months and pray for good fortune in the New Year.
4. Watch a Lion Dance – The lion signifies courage, stability and superiority, so go watch the lion dance to absorb its strength, power and positive energy.
5. Capture the Monkey in the Night Parade – The monkey is a symbol of cleverness and dexterity in Chinese culture, and if you catch him in the Night Parade, will be as smart and nimble as him.
6. Circle a peach blossom tree to find love – Walk around a peach blossom tree three times in a clockwise direction to attract luck in love and meet the one in the New Year.
7. Place a tangerine tree at home or in the office – Having a tangerine tree will attract “great luck, great profit” in the New Year as the character and pronunciation of “Tangerine” and “Luck” are the same in Chinese, and the colour of tangerines is reminiscent of gold.
8. Get a spin wheel and spin away bad luck – “Spinning” in Chinese has the same meaning as “change”, so by spinning the wheel, you can “change” your luck from bad to good.
9. Bring blessings to your house with hand-written Fai Chun – Fai Chun is red paper with phrases wishing good luck, prosperity and other blessings. Place Fai Chun on your door to bring blessings and prosperity into your home.
10. Decorate your house with red – Create a jubilant and festive atmosphere and ensure your home is blessed with happiness and good fortune by decorating with the lucky colour red.