Each year is related to an animal sign according to a 12-year-cycle of the Chinese calendar.
A New Year is coming tomorrow. Do you know that 2016 is the year of the Monkey according to the Chinese calendar? Which means that monkey makes a great gift for someone born in Monkey year, or just as a small meaningful New Year gift idea for a dear friend. Knowing the symbolic meaning of this sacred animal will lead to understanding the hidden message of any monkey present.
What About Monkeys?
The Monkey plays an important role in the daily lives of the Chinese people – its statue can be seen in many places and homes. It is the ninth of the 12 animals in the Chinese Zodiac, one of the Twelve Symbols of Imperial Sovereignty.)
It is said that Monkey (猴 – hóu, literally meaning “high officials”) is driving away the evil spirits. Monkey years are 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016, 2028, (and so on) and anybody who’s born in a Monkey year, is a Monkey person. Also, monkey correlates to the western sign Leo.
The Monkey has many symbolic meanings in traditional Chinese culture – riches, honor, luck, and Almighty God.
In Hindu, there’s a god called the Hanuman who is believed to be the reincarnation of Shiva (their main god). In Japan, the monkey was the messenger of the gods, seen as a symbol of a harmonious marriage, safe childbirth, fertility and a protector against disease and demons.
A famous folklore tells about the monkey who accompanied a monk who carried the holy Buddhist teachings, on his journey from India to China. The monkey was chosen for being smart, brave and able to protect the monk from demons and evil spirits. In Mexico, the Mayans glorified the monkey as a patron of the arts and was a symbol of knowledge, also associated with the sun by the ancient Aztecs.
Monkeys and Apes – Are They the Same?
Before going deep into the symbolic world of Monkeys, we need to distinguish some differences between apes and monkeys. In general, monkeys are smaller and typically have tails (apes usually don’t have tails). Both groups build strong communities, apes tend to be more social.
Apes also have their own symbolism. The most popular one is that of the Japanese three wise monkeys, sometimes called the three mystic apes (because they are actually apes). Have you seen a figurine of these cute monkeys? Together Mizaru (covering his eyes), Kikazaru (covering his ears) and Iwazaru (covering his eyes) embody the proverbial principle “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”. Although not Chinese, such an item is something that always make me smile and think at the same time. Definitely worth displaying such a “reminder”. And a great New Year gift idea also. Especially in the year of Monkey.
Monkey Personality According To The Chinese Calendar
Okay, let’s get back to the Chinese calendar. Those people born in Monkey years (1908, 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016) are clever, smart, ingenious, and funny entertaining. No wonder, especially if you know more about this monkey animal behavior (you probably have you own observations from the local Zoo or Animal Planet, right?)
It is one of the signs of the Chinese zodiac which shows a person who has many friends. It is a sign of natural curiosity.
Monkey people are wonderful companion due to their charm, friendliness, and sparkling energy. Monkeys embody strong leadership potential and won’t allow anyone to tell them what to do. They have totally untamed nature that cannot be stopped of doing something they truly want.
In addition to acute mental intelligence, Monkey also possesses physical stamina. Monkeys are fast learners and crafty people who are able to make miracles with their hands. They have skills and dexterity with machines and can easily master new concepts.
Monkeys display amazing depths of compassion, understanding, and bonding. In relationships, a Monkey loves romance and is very devoted. But he can be fickle and treat relationships like a game.
The Monkey Year 2016
Well, 2016 doesn’t start on January 1 for Monkeys (and traditional Chinese signs)! It starts at Chinese New Year (February 8, 2016), which changes year-to-year according to the Chinese lunar calendar.
Monkey Symbolic Meanings
Riches and honor
The literally meaning of the word for ‘monkey’ (猴 – hóu) is ‘high officials’. Since the ancient Chinese people preferred receiving official promotions, they bestowed the Monkey with the meaning of riches and honor. Some of the specific meanings according to China Highlights are:
– a monkey hanging a seal onto a maple tree symbolizes that a person will be officially promoted to a high position;
– a monkey riding a horse symbolizes a quick promotion;
– a monkey riding on the back of another monkey symbolizes that a person maintains a high official standing from one generation to another;
– nine monkeys sitting on the same pine tree symbolize wealth throughout life, and the pine tree symbolizes longevity and an evergreen lifestyle.
· The Almighty God
In traditional Chinese customs, the Monkey is all powerful. Here is how symbolically Monkeys protect:
– The Child-Protecting Monkey
A stone-carved monkey with a red thread on its tail is often displayed on the kangs of each household in some of the Chinese rural areas and it is used for tying up a 6-7-month-old baby. According to the ancient legends, the stone monkey blesses the baby with peace, and the baby will become very capable and worthy adult.
– The Escorting Monkey
A monkey statue was often carved on the top of each pole used for tying up a boat at the ports. It was said it could bless both the men and their boats with a safe and sound journey.
– The Stone Monkey
Almost every village had its own posts for tying horses in ancient times, with a monkey statue carved on the top. It was said that the monkey would protect the horses from diseases and even death.
2016 for Monkeys
Monkey year is very fortunate for all Monkeys (of course!). Even the most ambitious plans can succeed. Within the five Feng Shui elements Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, and Wood, 2016 is the year of the red Fire Monkey. And red fire means action, passion, creativity, and joy. As soon as you realize that a path is not fruitful, try a new one instead of staying stuck and trying to analyze the past. Just try to calm a little bit what is called Monkey mind in Buddhism: jump to a branch, grab a banana, peel it, take a bite, drop it. Then jump to the next branch, grab a banana, peel it, take a bite, and drop it in a useless tail-chasing cycle.
New Year Gift Idea
It is said that in the Monkey year every home should have at least one object (no matter of the size or type) displaying a monkey. As a small New Year gift idea for a dear friend or simply a gift for our house, check these ‘monkey’ suggestions:
# 1 Monkey Statue
# 2 Jade Charm
# 3 Monkey Pendants
# 4 Monkey Crystal
# 5 Monkey Wine Accessories
# 6 The Three Wise Monkeys
# 7 Monkey Nursery Decor for the Kid’s Room
# 8 Monkey Furniture – Gorgeous Tables
# 9 Monkey Business
# 10 Monkey Coffee & Tea
# 11 Monkey Born in 2016
# 12 The Light of Monkey
I don’t know for you, but I personally find monkeys really cute and cheerful animals that always bring a smile on my face. It’s true that they could be really annoying and teasing, but at least, they are far more charming than the Goats, 2015 Chinese Zodiac sign. So anything related to monkeys is a nice way to send your optimistic message with a thoughtful 2016 New Year gift idea.