Chinese New Year 2016 celebrations get going around the world with fireworks and dragons
Celebrations are kicking off around the world to mark the new Chinese year – the Year of the Monkey.
The new year, which is also known as the Spring Festival, officially begins on Monday, but festivities get going the day before – and will be welcomed in tonight.
Fireworks are traditionally used to scare away evil spirits, with parties decked out in red and gold to signify wealth and happiness.
The holiday also marks the world’s largest period of mass migration as millions of people travel to be with their families for the holiday.
Singapore has already had their first of nine consecutive nights of fireworks – with the display set for 9pm each night throughout the festival.
Processions and fireworks have unfolded from Sydney to Lisbon, New York and London.
Celebrate: Millions of people celebrating will travel to see their families this weekend
Monkey: The Year of the Monkey officially begins on Monday and babies born this year are supposed to be playful, mischievous and clever. Above, celebrations begin in Hanoi, Vietnam
Year of the Monkey
On Monday the zodiac calendar enters the Year of the Monkey – the ninth of 12 animal signs.
Plastic monkeys are adorning shopping centers and office buildings, and government departments have been giving out toy monkeys.
Those born in the Year of the Monkey are held to be playful, mischievous and clever – much like a monkey.
‘Many people say people born in the Year of the Monkey are smart and have a very good imagination, but it is thought that their chances of achieving success are not very good as they are less capable of executing things,’ said Beijing resident Wang Jinping, whose zodiac sign is the monkey.
Red: People born in the Year of the Monkey traditionally wear red to warn off bad spirits. Above, children give money to performers in Jakarta, Indonesia
Happy New Year: Tonight is the first of nine consecutive nights of fireworks during the River Hongbao festival to mark Chinese New Year in Singapore
As is customary when it is the year of one’s zodiac, Wang, who turns 60 this year, will be wearing red to ward off bad spirits. Ahead of the new lunar year, the museum manager was already wearing a red silk jacket in the style of those worn by officials more than a century ago at formal occasions, bought for him by his daughter-in-law’s mother.
‘My son and daughter-in-law also bought me four pairs of long red underwear, four red underpants and four pairs of red socks,’ he said.
‘Actually I don’t think these are something people must wear, but, in my year, the Year of the Monkey, I must do things very prudently and cautiously.’
Luck: Sydney’s night sky was lit up in red to celebrate the upcoming Lunar New Year of the Monkey
Plastic monkeys are adorning shopping centers and office buildings, and government departments have been giving out toy monkeys
New Year parade in Bussels
Having a baby in the Year of the Monkey is generally thought to better than its predecessor, the sheep.
The new lunar year is already boosting a fighting style that imitates the movements of a monkey. It also offers an excuse to cash in on China’s most famous monkey – Sun Wukong, or the Monkey King – a fabled demon-slayer.
Less happily, feng shui predictions foresee fire, disease and volatile stocks.
The Lunar New Year is celebrated on Tuesday – the day after the beginning of the Year of the Monkey
Hong Kong feng shui master Louis Wong foresees ‘a lot of fires happening around the world, especially in the forest
Some people were reluctant to have children last year – the Year of the Sheep as they were reluctant to have children as sheep babies are believed to be more likely followers than leaders
This year, not only has China’s one-child policy been loosened to a two-child policy, but some superstitious Chinese will be raring to give birth. During the previous 12 months, the Year of the Sheep or Goat (it’s the same character in Chinese), some people were reluctant to have children as they considered the year inauspicious and believed sheep babies would be more likely followers than leaders.
According to China’s national statistics, there were 16.55 million births in 2015, compared with 16.87 million in 2014. Some state media reports have attributed the drop in births last year to the Year of the Sheep.
Bad luck is more likely to befall those who are monkeys according to Hong Kong feng shui master Louis Wong
Market ups and downs, fires and viruses, the Year of the Monkey is predicted to have them all.
Hong Kong feng shui master Louis Wong foresees ‘a lot of fires happening around the world, especially in the forests. So we need to watch out for fire hazards,’ he said. ‘Southeast Asia will see a lot of viruses or disease, so we need to be very careful about the Zika virus now.’
To enhance a couple’s relationship this year, Wong advises placing a pink crystal on the woman’s side of the bedroom and a purple crystal on the man’s side. He added: ‘And if we want them to have fewer quarrels and arguments, we can put a firecracker behind the door.’ While watching out for fire risks, of course.
Wong cautioned that bad luck is more likely to befall those who are monkeys – ‘they need to be careful about their career and wealth’ – and tigers – ‘they need to be careful about accidents, especially car accidents.’
Lucky signs this year are of the dragon and rat – it will be good for the career and wealth of people born in the year of the dragon, while for the rat it is good for their relationships with people
Wong says the lucky signs in the coming year will be the dragon and rat. ‘For the people born in the Year of the Dragon it will be good for their career and wealth, while for the rat it is good for their relationships with people,’ he said.
A Hong Kong brokerage that publishes a tongue-in-cheek annual feng shui report said the Chinese territory’s Hang Seng stock index would perform decently until a downward swing mid-year, followed by a recovery.
‘Overall, it’s a year for slow, considered expansion, not for raucous monkey antics,’ it advises.
The CLSA brokerage says U.S. presidential campaigner Donald Trump should watch his cash outflow and beware the ‘golden-tongued’ Hilary Clinton, who was born in the Year of the Pig and is therefore a good pal of the monkey.