For centuries, celebrating the beginning of the lunar new year has been one of the most treasured annual holidays in many parts of Asia. The new year is a time of reflection and thankfulness for the previous year’s good fortune as well as hope for the coming year. Celebrations focus on joyous family gatherings, enjoyment of many traditional holiday foods, gift giving, and colorful parades and other public celebrations. As the peaceful Year of the Sheep comes to a close, on February 8 the exciting new Year of the Fire Monkey is welcomed with great exuberance.
The sheep and the monkey are part of the 12-animal cyclical Asian Zodiac, where each year is believed to take on the characteristics of its animal. Quite unlike 2015’s sheep, which is characterized by beauty, goodness, and harmony, the temperament of the monkey is said to be quick-witted, intelligent, and innovative, yet mischievous. This year, the monkey temperament is paired with the “fire” element, a combination that occurs only once every 60 years, and fire is said to make the monkey ambitious and adventurous. Given this mix of characteristics, the new year is thought to be a good time to be creative, pursue new endeavors, move forward with courage and action, and anticipate opportunity.
In keeping with the fire monkey’s dynamic characteristics, we wish all of our Asian friends, colleagues, and associates a very prosperous and rewarding new year.