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The Year of the Red Fire Monkey Featured

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The prospects for the New Year 2016 appear bright, perhaps even blazing bright at times. 2016 is the Year of the Red Fire Monkey, meaning that it will be under the influence of fire which represents energy, passion and joy. Why Fire Monkey? Ancient Chinese scholars believed that the universe consisted of five basic elements, such as Metal, Water, Wood, Fire and Earth, and that each of these elements had their yin and yang sides. When fire expresses masculine yang energy, its color is red and is symbolized by burning wood.

In the case of feminine yin energy, the fire is purple and is symbolized by the flame of a lamp, small and contained, yet helpful.

 Monkey is a clever, naughty, and tricky animal. They say if you want to have good return for your money investment, then you need to outsmart the Monkey. In the traditional Chinese mind, the Monkey is not only very intelligent but also hyperactive and strong-minded. The Monkey will not hesitate to test the wildest schemes, experiment and think the unthinkable; therefore anything can happen in 2016. This is a year for taking risks and being rebellious, a year where inventive minds, willpower and bravado will win out. It is also a year to break free, be creative, move forward and follow your heart’s desire. Now is the time to shake things up in your life and to follow a new path.

Nevertheless, Fire’s planet is Mars, and the Red Planet can be a little fiery. Not to mention that in Roman mythology Mars was the god of war. This year conflicts are likely to outbreak, although no major war is to be expected.  The last time we experienced the same yang fire Monkey year was 60 years ago in 1956 and in a way it was also a year of conflict and war.

The year 1956 saw the outbreak of crisis in Suez Canal with Egypt nationalized the Canal July, this eventually led to Bombing of Egypt by U.K. and France and Israel invasion of Sinai Peninsula in Oct, 1956. There are also revolutions against Soviet Union control in Hungry and in Poland; both were brutally suppressed by Soviet forces. In Hong Kong there is riot of the Nationalist on 10th Oct.

However, as yang fire symbolizes the Sun, it also generates sentiment of optimism and happiness, so it is a favorable year for entertainment and glamorous industries. 1956 is a very successful year for big stars such as Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, and Doris Day. Elvis Presley conquered the world with “Heartbreak Hotel” in February 1956, Marilyn Monroe changed her name from Norma Jean to Marilyn Monroe, and Doris Day recorded her most famous song “Que Sera Sera”…. All these happened in 1956.

According to the lunar calendar, it should start on February 8, but since Japan adopted the solar calendar system in the late 19th century, time has speeded up. During Meiji Restoration under the pressure of the Western nations Japan became more “civilized”- merely more Western. In the march to modernity the country changed dramatically and went through extensive cultural borrowing from the habit of drinking milk and ballroom dancing to fire-resistant brick buildings, banking system and calendar. However, Japan did not abandon its Zodiac calendar, known as Kanshi 干支 (also read Eto) along with the implementation of the Western calendar in 1872.  The urge to adjust to the Euro-American-dominated world order and the attachment to the timeless traditional values at the same time, have led Japan to a paradox where the new year (of Monkey) is being celebrated although the old year (of Sheep) has not ended yet.

 As if that weren't complicated enough, Japan is the only country in the world which still number the calendar years starting from the accession of its emperors. If effect, it can be said that Japan uses three calendar year systems: the solar, lunar and imperial one. The current Heisei Emperor (Akihito) has reigned for 28 years; therefore 2016 is Heisei 28, aka the Year of Monkey 2016.

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