(Exercising Your Mind) Happy Chinese New Year! The Year of the Monkey starts February 8th 2016 and lasts until January 7th 2017. It aligns with the New Moon, which this year is fantastically on MoonDay (Monday) The next Monkey year will be 2028
It is based on the cycles of the Moon, and so does not fit in neatly with the western concept of the new year in this way.
In China it is called Shēngxiào which translates to “birth likeness” and is also known as The Spring Festival.
Just like the Western version of the Zodiac, there are 12 Houses, each with their own unique representative. the word Zodiac translates to “Circle of Animals”.
However, where the western Zodiac has other characters that are not animals in its circle; the Chinese Zodiac specifically has only animals in each house, and each animal rules over an entire year instead of just one month.
The Monkey is the 9th of these animals. Here are a few stories about how the Monkey got 9th place in the order of Houses in the Chinese Zodiac. But first…
Side Note: I just realized while writing this that my best friend, who I think is a Goddess, was born in the year of the Monkey. Using Numerology, her name computes to numeral 9, as does her birthday, and now I see that the Monkey is number 9!
(1) One story tells of how The Buddha called on the animals of the world to protect and guard the good fortune of the year.
To better organize the animals, a race was held. Even though the Ox was strong and fast enough to win, the very clever Rat rode his back and then jumped forward right as they were approaching the finish line.
(2) A different version of this is that when the Buddha was ascending to Nirvana, the animals came to wish him good-bye. Being very moved by this, he granted them ruler-ship over a year, beginning the cycle with the Rat who was his good friend.
Another story is that the First God of Taoism, a.k.a. The Jade Emperor, called in a Battle Royal, elimination style tournament. The Heavenly Father appointed the Elephant as the judge because his patience, morality and calmness allowed him the conduct to judge most fairly.
The final match was between the Ox and the Rat. The powerful but overconfident Ox underestimated the speed, agility and cleverness of the Rat who escaped all of the Ox’s attempts to crush him.
The Ox tired himself out and when he stopped to catch his wind, the Rat jumped on his back and struck a nerve that caused the Ox to submit.
Whatever story you like best, they all have established the following order to be the ranking of the houses. (1) Rat, (2) Ox, (3) Tiger, (4) Hare, (5) Dragon, (6) Snake, (7) Horse, (8) Ram, (9) Monkey, (10) Rooster, (11) Dog, (12) Boar.
You can get even deeper (more complex?) interpretations of Birth Likeness by adding the fact that 2 consecutive years are ruled by one of the five elements: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, Water.
This is why my sister, who was born 1 year and 4 months before me shares the element of Fire with me. She is a Dragon, while I am a Snake. (How the heck did a Rat and an Ox beat a Dragon and a Snake in a fight?!)
Also, there is the addition of the influence of Yin and Yang. But here are some very basic characteristics to get you Monkeys started.
Monkeys are playful, quick-witted and intelligent. They may often use this combination of traits to play mischievous pranks, but with good intentions.
- Strengths: sociable, innovative, enthusiastic, self-assured
- Weaknesses: suspicious, cunning, selfish, arrogant, jealous
Then there are also Lucky Signs for the Monkey.
- Lucky Numbers: 1, 7, 8
- Lucky Days: The 14th and 28th of any Chinese lunar calendar month
- Lucky Months: The Chinese lunar months 8 and 12
- Lucky Colours: white, gold, blue
- Lucky Flowers: chrysanthemum, alliums
- Lucky Directions: north, northwest, west
A Rough Guide to Determine Your Animal House by Year of Birth
The new year moves between 21 January and February 20. This is why it may be slightly different for those of you born in January or February due to the fluctuations of the Lunar Cycle.
- Rat: 2008, 1996, 1984, 1972, 1960
- Ox: 2009, 1997, 1985, 1973, 1961
- Tiger: 2010, 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962
- Rabbit: 2011, 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963
- Dragon: 2012, 2000, 1988, 1976, 1964
- Snake: 2013, 2001, 1989, 1977, 1965
- Horse: 2014, 2002, 1990, 1978, 1966
- Sheep: 2015, 2003, 1991, 1979, 1967
- Monkey: 2016, 2004, 1992, 1980, 1968
- Rooster: 2017, 2005, 1993, 1981, 1969
- Dog: 2018, 2006, 1994, 1982, 1970
- Pig: 2019, 2007, 1995, 1983, 1971
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