Encounter happiness

The Fire Monkey who runs this blog sends you best wishes for an auspicious year!

The Fire Monkey who runs this blog sends you best wishes for an auspicious year!

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 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 completely. 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!

This post was first published seven years ago today. This year, the Lunar New Year began on January 22, 2023. This is the year of the Water Rabbit.

The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. Chris

    I didn’t know that the 12 animals were further subdivided by the “5 elements” (in Chinese lore); hence, the 60 year cycle of your specific “type” of animal. Well, fire monkey, meet wood goat! 🤣

    • Chris, I only learned about the elements of the Chinese Zodiac from hanging out in San Francisco’s fabulous Chinese community, where I used to love spending time when I would venture into the city for the day. I must admit though, the fire element fits me. Under the Zodiac most of us in the USA are familiar with, which has four elements with three signs under each (Air, Earth, Fire and Water), everyone in my family– Jeff, both boys and even the dog Pasha– was a fire sign. I don’t believe in horoscopes except for fun, but there can be no doubt that our family fit that element. It made for a home life that was seldom boring. I don’t know the traits of a wood goat, but I would imagine them to be steady, stable and maybe a bit obstinate?

      • Chris

        Julia, according to Wikipedia:

        In Chinese astrology, Goats are described as peace-loving, kind, and popular. With the addition of the Wood element, the Goat characteristic is thought to love peace and to be helpful and trusting, but yet also to be clinging and of a nature resistant to change. Wood goat people are cheerful, good-mannered, and sympathetic. Wood goats are, even though they have a quick tongue, easy to get along with. People born in wood goat years are prudent and independent. They throw themselves into various social activities when they are young.

        I’m sure this describes many, many people. It’s funny, I do think I fit in here! 🤣. Cheers!

        • Yes, it does sound like you! Even though it would supposedly describe anyone born in the same lunar year as you were (and there are unfortunately TOO MANY who would most likely be none of those good things), I still think it’s a fun coincidence when it matches!

  2. Good morning, Julia!
    I’m a Water Tiger.
    I think Tom Hanks is also a Fire Monkey. On my last flight, I started watching a movie in which he starred, called “Terminal,” about someone who was in-flight when his government was overthrown, so his passport is no good when he lands. I’m sure it’s totally fictitious, and appears to be a kind of comedy.

    • I’m not a big Tom Hanks fan, so I was worried when I read he would portray my beloved hero Fred Rogers in the movie. But I thought Hanks did a good job with the role. He is a good actor, I must admit, though I’m not sure he’s the “nice guy” that his image suggests. So perhaps Fire Monkey is a good sign for him (and me)! As a Water Tiger, you share a sign with some others I admire much more than Hanks: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Joe DiMaggio (royalty of a different sort) and Bill Murray (a true King of comedy).

      By the way, Jeff was an Earth Dog. Here is a description of that sign: “Dog born in the year of 1958 have the ability to think carefully and cautiously. They like to pursue perfection and do things seriously. Therefore, they usually treat people and things with strict and serious attitude.” See? Isn’t it fun when these superstitions and folklore turn out to be (coincidentally, in my opinion) so close to the truth? 😀

      • It can seem almost eerie!
        And then someone will come along that matches virtually none of the descriptions. I suppose world events of the times shape all of us a bit, but fortunately, there are still a variety of characters born every year!

        • Yes, as I said to Chris, it’s always a fun coincidence when the personality description matches up. But it doesn’t always work that way. For example, under the America zodiac, since Jeff and I had the same birthday, one would think we would not have been such polar opposites. Still, I suppose we were alike in so many ways that most people did not see or notice.

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