The Chinese New Year is a time for celebration and spending time with loved ones. It’s also the perfect time to reflect on spiritualism and the connection to the lunar calendar. As this is the Year Of The Monkey, people who were born under the sign are considered to be clever and innovative. Monkeys have an important role within Chinese mythology and there are many stories depicting them as protectors.
Stone monkey statues with a red thread on their tail are often placed on heated stone beds called kangs in rural Mongolia. The kang is where a baby sleeps and according to ancient beliefs the stone monkey watches over them. The baby will be blessed with peace and grow up to lead a fortunate life.
Monkeys are known to appear in ancient paintings, usually connected to nobility. For example, a monkey hanging a seal on a maple tree symbolises being promoted to a high position quickly. A monkey on the back of another is linked to maintaining a strong position from one generation to the next.
Chinese religions use monkeys as a metaphor for people. In Daoism there’s a special focus on gibbons being immortal while Buddhism depicts monkeys as wise and foolish. There are legends of monkey demons and were-monkeys who can shift between animal and human. Monkey demons are considered dangerous and were-monkeys are virtuous.
When thinking about the zodiac it’s important to examine a monkey’s features. Their tales represent balance and control. Is their balance in your own life? Do you feel in control of the choices that are being made? Monkey tails also represent connection and mobility, encouraging us to leap into the unknown. By remaining connected to what we know feels right we’re able to move forward from fear or doubt.
Monkeys are considered playful, intelligent, honourable and protective of what belongs to them. Seeing them in the wild is an amazing experience and reminds us of the family connection we share.
Even if you weren’t born under the sign of the monkey you can enjoy Chinese New Year and remember to honour your family.