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Stay lighthearted with Chinese zodiac culture

Editor: Tong Xinxin 丨CCTV.com

02-06-2016 09:25 BJT

By Tom McGregor, CNTV Commentator

According to the lunar calender, February 8, 2016 marks the first day of the Chinese New Year, the beginning of the Year of the Monkey.  The Chinese zodiac has a 12-year cycle of animals: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.

Each zodiac animal is considered to have certain character traits. Feng shui experts and astrologers say that those born on the year of the Monkey are expected to be, “smart, talented, lucky and charismatic.”

Consequently, many Chinese parents prefer to give birth to children on a Monkey year. Australian-based SBS News reports that “Beijing’s maternity wards are anticipating a 20 percent increase of births, 300,000+ this year in the city, compared to an annual average of 250,000 in the past few years.”

The German pharmaceutical Merck has enjoyed a surge in sales of its fertility drug in recent months.

Taking Chinese zodiac seriously

Additionally, a rising number of young Chinese are making a deeper connection to fortune tellers, Feng Shui masters and astrologers. Some parents visit a Chinese zodiac astrologer after a child is born to determine what fate lies ahead for them.

According to the Chinese zodiac, the year you are born defines your animal zodiac. Those born in 1963 are rabbits, but the astrologer will chart out a detailed life map after learning the birth date of the child, such as June 22, and the exact hour of birth, local-time.

Some families believe that visiting to a fortuneteller would help them make important decisions and they want to hear positive news, but sometimes that can pose a danger if they rely too much on astrologers, instead of making choices based on their own free will.

Ancient customs for today’s world

Despite such misgivings, studying the Chinese zodiac should be just a playful activity. Historians say the Chinese zodiac was founded during the Han Dynasty ((202BC - 220AD).

The zodiac is more about celebrating ancient Chinese customs. During the Spring Festival, Chinese cities and villages, as well as Chinatowns in other nations, become fully-decorated in a sea of red, with ‘Chinese New Year’ paper-cuts and signs, along with red lanterns hanging at nearby shops and restaurants.

Chinese New Year decorations simply cultural showpieces for many, but those who are born in the year of the Monkey do feel a strong sense of pride.

Celebrating monkey traits

Chinese astrology websites claim that those born as monkeys will be blessed with brilliance and amazing talents, while luck will make them very prosperous.

The GoToHoroscope Website said, “The monkey is the most versatile sign.” Those born as monkeys are likely to become “inventors, plotters, entertainers and creative geniuses, but mischievous.”

Their positive traits are, “quick-witted, problem-solvers, reliable, strong determination, flexible, great communicators, and self-confident.”

But their supposed negative traits are, “vain, manipulative, selfish, hyper-emotional, insecure and publicity-seekers.”

Were you born in the Year of the Monkey and do those traits define your true personality? Perhaps not, and that’s why the Chinese zodiac is not a science. A person born as a sheep, which is considered the antithesis of a monkey, may just as likely hold strong monkey traits.

Enjoying the Chinese New Year

For the Chinese, the Spring Festival is a season for reuniting with relatives as they mainly migrate to rural villages. They gather together to eat delicious home-cooked meals and share good stories. Meanwhile, the Chinese zodiac serves as a playful distraction for them.

Let’s not forget that monkeys love to play and so it’s time for one and all to celebrate the upcoming Year of the Monkey.



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( The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com. )



Panview offers a new window of understanding the world as well as China through the views, opinions, and analysis of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

Panview offers an alternative angle on China and the rest of the world through the analyses and opinions of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

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