We may be about a month into 2016, but the New Year is almost upon us again. No, you didn’t slip into a temporal anomaly nor shall we do the time warp again. For many around the world, they’ll be celebrating the old traditions of the Lunar New Year because, frankly, the Gregorian calendar is too mainstream. Specifically, of course, I’m referring to what many homogeneously call “Chinese New Year,” which has a great influence throughout East Asia, but does go by different names with slightly different local traditions. In the Good Korea, they call the new year celebration “Seollal,” in Mongolia it’s called “Tsagaan Sar,” “Losar” in Tibet, and “Tết” in Vietnam. Japan recognizes the lunar holiday, but typically celebrates on the first of January since adopting the Gregorian calendar in the 19th century.
The traditional Eastern celebration of Lunar New Year doesn’t have much hold in the United States outside of Asian businesses and communities, when most stores shut down for a few days to observe the holiday. Red is a prominent color this time of year and setting off long chains of firecrackers is a must because it harks back to old Eastern myths pertaining to warding off malevolent spirits that are weaken by loud noises and the color red. A lot of focus during this period is spent on spreading good fortune, health, well-being, and wealth. One of the most cherished traditions of the holiday is to distribute small, red envelopes filled crisp currency notes (or lotto tickets, if you’re on a budget) to children. The Chinese New Year is also a time to celebrate with family and pay respect to elders, as well as blessing and welcoming home the spirits of deceased loved ones to share in the celebration. This year, the New Year begins on February 8th, which is the day after the unofficial American holiday when two professional football teams battle it out before and after a round of music and dancing.
Eastern Astrology and the New Year
While the Chinese New Year is based on a lunar cycle, as opposed to the sun cycle of the Gregorian calendar, it’s also heavily steeped into Eastern astrology. The highly influential Chinese Zodiac features 12 different animals, each with their own characteristic traits, corresponding to a specific year in a 12 lunar-year cycle. All of the animals are typically the same, but there are a few interchangeable ones in the zodiac when compared to different cultures, mainly due to language and interpretation. In 2015, for example, many celebrated the Year of the Goat, but others alternatively celebrated the Year of the Ram. Likewise, some recognize the Rooster in place of the Chicken and the Cat in place of the Rabbit. For 2016, the year will be centered around the ninth animal in the cycle: the monkey.
|RAT||1912, ’24, ’36, ’48, ’60, ’72, ’84, ’96, 2008|
|OX||1913, ’25, ’37, ’49, ’61, ’73, ’85, ’97, 2009|
|TIGER||1914, ’26, ’38, ’50, ’62, ’74, ’86, ’98, 2010|
|RABBIT||1915, ’27, ’39, ’51, ’63, ’75, ’87, ’99, 2011|
|DRAGON||1916, ’28, ’40, ’52, ’64, ’76, ’88, 2000, ’12|
|SNAKE||1917, ’29, ’41, ’53, ’65, ’77, ’89, 2001, ’13|
|HORSE||1918, ’30, ’42, ’54, ’66, ’78, ’90, 2002, ’14|
|GOAT||1919, ’31, ’43, ’55, ’67, ’79, ’91, 2003, ’15|
|MONKEY||1920, ’32, ’44, ’56, ’68, ’80, ’92, 2004, ’16|
|ROOSTER||1921, ’33, ’45, ’57, ’69, ’81, ’93, 2005, ’17|
|DOG||1922, ’34, ’46, ’58, ’70, ’82, ’94, 2006, ’18|
|PIG||1923, ’35, ’47, ’59, ’71, ’83, ’95, 2007, ’19|
Since the lunar cycle differs from the Western calendar, your actual birth date may fall in a different year than above. To accurately determine your Chinese Zodiac sign, this site has a listing of birth date ranges from February 5th, 1924 to January 29th, 2044.
Year of the Monkey
The Monkey, in general, is the mischievous animal in the zodiac because of their curiosity and sometimes too playful demeanor. Monkeys are intelligent, creative, and thrive on being challenged. They possess great confidence, charm, and enjoy being sociable, but can also be very stubborn and arrogant to a fault.
New Year Outlook for Monkeys
Monkeys can expect harsh times in the coming year. The Year of the Monkey won’t bring monkeys any positive change in the work place and will have to work twice as hard to keep the money rolling in. That shouldn’t be too much of a problem as monkeys are, after all, well equipped to overcome any obstacle. Romantic relationships may be strained and will require extra attention and care to keep things stabilized. Overall, the general outlook for monkeys is to not be a jerk, stay humble, and continue to work hard; these things will help avoid any major life disasters in the new year.
New Year Outlook for the Rest
If you’re a Tiger, you’ll be having a more difficult year than the monkey, if not the worst year compared to the others. Tigers will be faced with lots of challenges at work and at home, which will test their knowledge and experience to the extreme. Money will be an issue for tigers just as much as roosters and monkeys. Rats, dragons, rabbits, horses, and dogs will have a much more rewarding year all around.
Aside from generalized things for specific animals, however, there are a few common observations that pertain to all 12 animals in the Chinese Zodiac that all can benefit from. These things include: 1) Career and wealth, 2) Romantic and social relationships, and 3) Health.
Career and Wealth in the Year of the Monkey
Your career is always an important part of your life and should be taken seriously. Any big changes to your career can have a huge effect on all areas of your life, whether it’s bringing home the stress from work or losing your job. Certain things may remain out of your control, but, when you’re faced with challenges of learning new tasks or increasing productivity, there a few things you can add to your work life to help you through the year and weather the storm.
For Tigers, Dragons, Snakes, Monkeys, Roosters, and Pigs, just continue to work hard. If this means increasing your productivity, consider things that can help you in the office. One of the biggest inhibitors of productivity is the temperature. Most places will be able to keep the office at a comfortable temperature, but older buildings or warehouses may just be colder or hotter depending on the season. Some offices may also require the thermostat be kept at a lower temperature. It’s a no-brainer that working in extreme conditions make it more difficult to mentally stay focused or physically prepared to work.
If you’re constantly cold in an overly air conditioned room and sweaters aren’t doing the job, invest in a low-watt space heater for your desk. With a slim, compact heater to warm the space around your desk, you’ll be able to stay comfortable and focused while keeping your hands warm and limber to get more things done. Portable, energy efficient models like the NewAir AH-400 Low-Watt Oil Filled Underdesk Heater are great for radiating 1,365 BTUs of heat for an area up to 40 square feet, drawing only 400 watts and about 3 amps. This makes the NewAir AH-400 heater great around the office or cubical because you can get the direct heat you need without bothering those around you or tripping the circuit breaker.
Staying healthy in the work place can also help you be more productive and alert to meet the changing demands in the work place. Having a water dispenser in the office is a great way to stay hydrated without having to resort to drinks loaded up with sugar and caffeine. This can save you extra money, as well as calories, because you won’t have to spend as much money every day on drinks. One 20-ounce bottle of water or soda could cost up to $2 in some stores while a cup of coffee or tea can cost double that amount. Reducing the amount you spend on drinks and drinking more water would
By having your office invest in a good hot and cold water dispenser, like the NewAir WCD-200W Hot & Cold Water Dispenser, can refill your cup or water bottle with fresh, cool water or make tea and/or ramen with the hot water feature. Get up from your desk to the water dispenser is also helps you stay a little more active throughout the day as opposed to constantly sitting on your buns for eight hours straight.
Love and Social Relationships in the Year of the Monkey
Love will be rocky for the Tiger, Sheep, and Monkey this year. Those involved in a relationship will need to pay extra attention to their mates and find ways to be patient and calm to avoid major arguments. For animals like the Rat, Rabbit, and Dragon it’ll be a great time to find love or expand upon a current relationship during the Year of the Monkey.
As far as friends and other social relationships are concerned, the general rule this year for most animals will be to increase their social activity. Meet new people, network, and/or strengthen current relationships to build other opportunities. Going out more with friends and coworkers would be a good idea or entertaining more guests at home could also generate a positive response.
If you’re going to host social gatherings in the Year of the Monkey, having a few quality appliances will help make the event go by easier. Beverage and wine coolers would be a definite help if you’re going to have a lot of thirsty guests. A model like the NewAir AB-850 84-Can Beverage Cooler is a great unit to stock cans of beer and soda without taking up too much space. A counter-top unit like the AB-850 is useful if you’ve got a small kitchen or living in an area with limited space. If you and friends are more into wine and you’ve got the room to fit one in, then the NewAir AWB-360DB Dual Zone Wine & Beverage Cooler allows for a better variety of drinks to offer your guests. The last thing you want to do is invite people over and not have enough drinks, or ice for that matter. So, a high quality clear ice maker like the Luma Comfort IM200SS Portable Clear Ice Maker, with its 28 pound daily ice production, will go a long way when planning parties and casual gatherings.
Entertaining outdoors is also a fun way to spend time with family and friends. Since the dawn of human existence, men and women have bonded over the warm, entrancing glow of a well lit fire. So, naturally, any backyard should have a fire pit. It can be a traditional wood burning fire pit or a natural gas or propane fueled fire pit. The latter offers many designs that range from chat side fire pit tables to fire pit dinner tables. To browse all outdoor fire pits, click on these mysterious diamonds: ♦♦♦♦
Health in the Year of the Monkey
Everybody in general should be mindful of their health, but the Year of the Monkey will throws extra caution towards the Tiger, Horse, Sheep, Rooster, and Pig.
For the Horse and Rooster, air quality will be a major concern. This means to pay attention to your respiratory system and look out for issues dealing with your lungs, nose, throat, and bronchus. Respiratory diseases or infections might present itself, so do your best to stay healthy. Quitting smoking this year might be one helpful way kick off the new year. Another helpful way is to cleanse the air in your home or business with an air purifier. To browse all air purifiers, click on the circled times: ⊗
There are many different models of air purifiers that range from HEPA filters to activated carbon filters, or both. HEPA filters are great for trapping ultra fine particles, dust, dander, mold, pollen, and bacteria that an ordinary filter might not be able to remove from the air. Activated carbon filters differ from HEPA filters because they do a better job of removing harmful chemicals, VOCs, smoke, odors, and certain gases. Other air purifiers may also include ionic or ultraviolet light technology to sterilize air by destroying additional bacteria, viruses, germs, and mold. By owning an air purifier this year, it may reduce the chances of you and others from developing respiratory problems.
Food will also be a major concern for Sheep and Pigs. They should watch their diets and food preparation closely with Sheep suggested to eat more vegetables and Pigs to be wary of diabetes, diarrhea, and bladder or neuralgic pain. If you’re not fond of cooking or have little experience, you can invest in a food processor or an air fryer to make cooking easier and healthier.
A product like the Avalon Bay Deluxe AB-Airfryer100B Air Fryer works similarly to a mini convection oven to fry, bake, grill, or roast your food without using oil. By using less oil, you’ll be able to enjoy the same foods as normally would, but without the added grease and fat to make it in. This will also help you control your diet and may aid in weight loss.
What If I Don’t Believe in Your Lunar Hocus Pocus?
If you don’t buy into all of the old myths and Chinese astrology that comes with the Year of the Monkey, then it’s best to remember what a great man once said in the Coen Brothers’ classic film, The Big Lebowski:
“Yeah, well, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.” – The Dude
Regardless of whether you believe in Chinese astrology or find the lunar calendar outdated, the traditions of the Lunar New Year celebration are meant to be fun and spread good fortune and well-being. The predictions made for each zodiac animal in the Year of the Monkey may or may not have any solid scientific basis, but they should be viewed as a general reminder that we should all try to work a little harder, love and respect each other a little more, and live a little healthier. If we can accomplish all of that to some modest degree, we’ll all live happier and more balanced lives.