Welcome to the Year of the Monkey

Welcome to the Year of the Monkey
HONG KONG - a hand written Fai Chun for an authentic touch of Chinese New Year (Photo by Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)

Welcome to the Year of the Monkey — February 8, 2016, is Chinese New Year’s Day, and the start of the Year of the Monkey. In the Chinese zodiac, monkeys were born in 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004 and 2016. Monkeys are known to be witty and intelligent, with magnetic personalities. They are typically fast learners and crafty opportunists. If you are a monkey, click here for lucky and unlucky tips to prepare for the year.

Cosmopolitan as it is, Hong Kong still inherits and follows the most colorful customs of Chinese New Year. Auspiciousness is very important. In Chinese culture, the start of Chinese New Year determines ones fortune for the rest of the year.

To ensure you get the best start to the New Year, here are five must-do customs:

  1. Walk around a Peach Blossom tree to get Mr. or Ms. Right next year. Peach blossoms symbolize luck in love. To attract this luck, find the best Peach Blossom tree in the flower market and walk around it three times in a clockwise direction. Your Mr. or Ms. Right is bound to show up in the New Year. If you have enough space in your house, consider buying a Peach Blossom tree so that the luck of love stays in your home for the whole year.
  2. Get a Tangerine Tree for Good Luck and Fortune in the New Year. In Chinese, the character and pronunciation of “Tangerine” and “Luck” are the same, and the color of tangerines is a bit like gold. This makes it the perfect auspicious item for a business person. People who do business will have a tangerine tree at home or at the shop front to wish for “great luck, great profit” in the coming year.
  3. Spin Away the Bad Luck and Attract Good Luck with a Pinwheel. So last year wasn’t that great? Get a Pinwheel! According to Chinese customs, spinning a pinwheel wards off the bad luck, and brings good fortune. “Spinning” in Chinese has the same meaning as “change”, so by spinning the wheel, you can “change” your luck from bad to good.
  4. Bring Warm Blessings to your House with Hand-Written Fai Chun. Fai Chun is red paper with phrases wishing good luck, prosperity and other blessings. People stick Fai Chun on the door to make the coming year a fruitful and lucky one. Don’t worry if you don’t understand Chinese, because the golden writing by the calligraphy master is sure to be appropriate and makes it an art piece to be showcased at home, giving your home an authentic Hong Kong touch.
  5. Decorate your House with Plenty of Red for a Jubilant Festive Atmosphere. For Chinese people, red is associated with “happiness and good fortune”. If you decorate your house in red, it means good fortune and happiness will stay in your home. During Chinese New Year, people visit relatives and friends. Your home decorations will give your home a jubilant festive atmosphere and your guests a warm blessing for a Happy New Year.