Fire Monkeys and Fresh Starts

Here’s a question for you…

What is the connection between healthful eating, fresh starts and fire monkeys?   

The Chinese New Year, that’s what!

Just when you thought we had put the New Year festivities well behind us, it’s time for one of the world’s biggest celebrations of all–Chinese New Year 2016.

Let’s explore this important holiday…

What Is the Chinese New Year?

According to the Chinese calendar, 2016 is actually the 4713th Chinese Year.

And this year Chinese New Year starts on February 8th.

The Chinese New Year is steeped in ancient traditions, many of which involve cleansingFeb-07_ChineseNY_Illustrate7_000065856593 (1) different areas of life (for example – thoroughly cleaning the house).  The cleaning rituals are there for a reason–to get rid of bad fortune in order to ensure good luck for the coming year.

Every year the Chinese New Year celebrates one of the 12 animals that re-occur within the Chinese zodiac; this year is the year of the Fire Monkey or the 9th animal. Past Monkey years include 1968, 1980, 1992 and 2004–all 12 year cycles.

Each animal is associated with certain lucky items; for people born in the year of the Monkey that translates to the numbers 4 and 9, the colors white, blue and gold, and the flowers chrysanthemum and crape-myrtle.

Conversely, people born under the monkey should avoid the colors red and pink and the numbers 2 and 7 which are all considered to be unlucky.

Some Fun facts About Chinese New Year

Did you know that Chinese New Year is all about…?

  • Celebrating 3,000 — Chinese New Year is one of the oldest
    parties around having been celebrated for over good fortune in traditional Chinese word3,000 years.  Not only that, it’s a long celebration–lasting a full 15 days.
  • Making Fire – Fireworks have always been an important part of any Chinese New Year celebration; the noise that they make is meant to scare off the evil spirits, ensuring good luck for the New Year.
  • Eating Noodles – Long noodles are traditionally eaten during the Chinese New Year because they are said to represent longevity.
  • Wearing Red – The color red is believed to fend off evil spirits and bring good luck, so many people choose to either wear it or decorate with it during the New Year celebrations.
  • Eating Oranges – In Chinese, the word for “orange” sounds a lot like “luck,” so eating oranges
    is said to bring good luck for the coming year. (Lucky for us, it’s one of our favorite fruits!)

So – How Can You Celebrate?

Chinese New Year is a most beloved international holiday.Feb-09_ChefRecipe

So what can you do to celebrate?

Since the New Year is all about starting fresh and living a healthful lifestyle, why not try a new recipe to get things started?

Here’s one of my favorite healthful Chinese recipes Buddha’s Delight.

I believe it is a most fitting way to celebrate a holiday which is devoted to ‘cleaning’ out our lives to let all the good in.

And however you choose to celebrate, I sincerely hope that your New Year is filled with health and happiness!