迎春接福 Yíngchúnjiēfú – “Greet the New Year and encounter happiness” — a traditional Lunar New Year greeting
Today marks an auspicious day that comes only once every sixty years: it is the beginning of the Year of the Fire Monkey. The last time we had a Fire Monkey year was 1956, the year I was born, as were many of you. So to all you Fire Monkeys out there, let’s celebrate our special year!
First, a disclaimer: I don’t believe there is any magic or power in horoscopes, whether American or Asian. I do, however, find their archetypes and symbols interesting and often amusingly apt. The Asian zodiac has five elements, compared to our four, and the elements in the Asian zodiac rotate by year, not limited to one particular sign. In both zodiacs, I’m a fire sign. I must admit that certainly fits.
It’s a sort of zany coincidence that, of all the twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac, I have always identified most with the monkey. I see this mostly as a positive thing, though not wholly. The monkey’s playful curiosity can be intrusive and sometimes annoying, as any tourist who’s ever lost a pair of sunglasses to one of them can attest. And they can have fierce tempers that flare quickly, resulting in threatening displays of surprisingly sharp teeth.
But monkeys display many traits to which I aspire. Clever, agile and observant, they are great fun to watch. It’s almost impossible for me to study the antics of a monkey and not feel a lightness of spirit that corresponds to their nimble grace. They move easily from one height to another, pausing only slightly to grab, usually successfully, at anything that catches their eye. On the whole, I think I flatter myself to say I’m a good example of the monkey personality.
What is your Lunar zodiac sign? Do you see any similarities between yourself and the animal for whom your birth year was named? No matter your sign, I’m sending you a virtual Red Envelope with an imaginary thousand dollar bill, symbolizing my best wishes for good fortune and a wonderful year!