YEAR OF THE FIRE MONKEY

Congratulations and Prosperity…

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The fireworks and ball drop are weeks behind us now, but a reason to mark another new year is here. This is a time to leave the problems of the previous year behind, clean the house, and wear new clothing. The Chinese decorate with banners, red paper cutouts and wishes of happiness, wealth, and longevity—festive meals are consumed, firecrackers lit, and money gifts offered. Enjoy dumplings, saki, and longevity peaches (pastries representative of the mythical celestial peach).

And what about the red monkey? The one illustrated above (click link to order print) has a generous heart with an offering of a freshly-picked juicy peach.

Chinese astrology features a zodiac of twelve animals and five elements (wood, metal, earth, water, fire) that combine in an elaborate system to designate qualities to those born in each new year. For example, babies born during this past year of the Wood Goat may express a peaceful harmonious nature, while those arriving after February 8th in 2016, a Fire Monkey year, will likely be entertaining and mischievous. Another translation indicates something for everyone about this new year: “monkey climbing the mountain” (good description of the election process we are up against). The last fire monkey year was between February 12, 1956 and January 30, 1957. Anyone turning sixty this year?

The Lunar New Year is an important annual East Asian festival recognized in accordance with the Lunisolar calendar that generally occurs on the second new moon after Winter Solstice. The Chinese call it Spring Festival and conclude their festivities with Lantern Festival. The timing and customs vary among different groups. The Japanese Risshun Setsubun is recognized on a fixed date (February 3rd). The Burmese celebrate Thingyan later on in April. Tibet, Nepal, and India have Losar, during the time of the flowering apricot trees in Tibet.

The Cantonese and Mandarin New Year’s greeting communicates

Congratulations and Prosperity:

GONG XI FA CAI

XINNIAN KUAI LE

Here in Buffalo, some of us at Shambhala Meditation Group celebrate Shambhala Day that coincides with the Tibetan Losar. Our greeting says this:

May all auspiciousness be heaped upon you…TASHI DELEK!


February 2016


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