On Feb. 8— and the days following— many Angelenos will participate in Lunar New Year celebrations and ring in the Year of Monkey.
Although often called the Chinese New Year, the event is a global one, with massive celebrations all throughout Asia, including China, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam.
When it comes to the zodiac of the lunar calendar, people are united by their birth year, rather than month of birth as with the Western zodiac. The lunar calendar has 12 signs in total so the calendar resets itself every 12 years.
The Year of the Monkey falls in 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016, 2028, 2040.
So what should we expect during 2016? According to experts, it is a time of upheaval and new beginnings. While the best laid plans can go seriously wrong, this year is also one to take chances and roll the dice. Expect this to be a year of great innovation and lots of economic growth.
People born during the year of the Monkey are considered to be smart, mischievous and curious. They also tend to be talkative, love adventure and many of them tend to be pranksters. Noted celebrities born under the sign of the Monkey include Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Taylor and Tom Hanks.
When it comes to recognizing the Chinese New Year, there’s no right way to celebrate, although reconnecting with family almost always plays a key role. In China, nearly the entire country takes a two-week vacation to spend the days leading up to the New Year paying respect to ancestors, cleaning houses from top to bottom, and spending time with family at colossal celebratory feasts.
In the New Year, celebrants head outdoors to join in noisy public spectacles. Sound and fireworks are important, a tradition passed down from ancient times, when the Chinese believed these tools could be used to help keep monsters from attacking their villages.
To host your own Lunar New Year celebration, be sure to decorate using liberal splashes of red, which is considered an auspicious color in China. Another key decorating element is the presentation of lucky money, packaged in red New Year’s envelopes. Although lucky money is generally given to children and unmarried people, it can also be bestowed as a token of appreciation or goodwill.
Folks interested in a slightly lower key celebration can visit any Farmers Market Asian restaurant, including China Depot, Peking Kitchen, Singapore’s Banana Leaf and Sushi a Go Go to create their very own celebratory meal.
Check out a recent piece in NTDTV about celebrating Lunar New Year at the Farmers Market!