Year of The Monkey Begins Feb. 8

Honoring a year of hard work and helping promote 12 months of luck and prosperity, Chinese New Year begins Feb. 8.

Also know as Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, the holiday is celebrated by millions of people throughout the world during several weeks of festivities each winter.

Holiday traditions include a reunion dinner with family members, passing of red envelopes which are filled with cash (hongbaos), and other gifts. Many wear new clothes and throw out broken objects in the home before Chinese New Year’s Day to promote good fortune throughout the coming year.

“Chinese New Year is a time of happiness and fun,” said Tammy Doan, a former volunteer at the Chinese Market in Grand Prairie which is known for its annual Lunar New Year ceremony. Doan said her holiday includes eating, togetherness with family and friends, praying at the temple, and ceremonies.

In Chinese astrology, each year is associated with a Chinese zodiac animal sign and one the five elements: metal, water, wood, fire, or Earth, which are believed to affect personality traits and destiny. According to the Chinese calendar, 2016 is a year of the Monkey and fire (starting from Feb. 8 and ending on Jan. 27, 2017). Astrologers say “Fire Monkeys” are ambitious and adventurous, but irritable. The Monkey is ninth of 12 animal signs that recur during a 12-year Chinese zodiac cycle. Element-combination signs recur every 60 years.

The Year of the Sheep ends Feb. 7.

Chinese New Year’s Day falls on different days each year with the first day of the celebration beginning on the new moon between Jan. 21 and Feb. 20, annually.

“It’s a celebration of family togetherness involving food, family an fun,” said Kevin NguyenHo, head of the Rising Phoenix Lion Dance Organization, which provides traditional lion dancing entertainment for local companies and restaurants during the Chinese New Year season.

Find your Chinese zodiac sign here

Used as a method to promote good fortune and luck in the year ahead, lion dancing is important because it brings attention and customers to businesses as well, said NguyenHo

What’s your Chinese zodiac sign? Let us know in the comments section below.