Blog February 2016

GOING APE OVER THE YEAR OF THE MONKEY

Posted On: February 08, 2016

The new Chinese year arrived Monday, and its one to go bananas over. On Feb. 8, the zodiac calendar entered the Year of the Monkey — the ninth of 12 animal signs.

Having a baby in the Year of the Monkey is generally thought to be more auspicious than in that of its predecessor, the sheep, and the cute creature is in any case largely beloved by the masses for its playful and human-like characteristics, despite a penchant for stealing food.

The new lunar year is already boosting a fighting style that imitates the movements of a monkey. It also offers an excuse to cash in on China's most famous monkey — Sun Wukong, or the Monkey King — a fabled demon-slayer.

Those born in the Year of the Monkey are held to be playful, mischievous and clever — much like a monkey.

"Many people say people born in the Year of the Monkey are smart and have a very good imagination, but it is thought that their chances of achieving success are not very good as they are less capable of executing things," said Beijing resident Wang Jinping, whose zodiac sign is the monkey.

0

THE HISTORY OF GROUNDHOG'S DAY

Posted On: February 02, 2016

Groundhog Day, February 2nd, is a popular tradition in the United States. It is also a legend that traverses centuries, its origins clouded in the mists of time with ethnic cultures and animals awakening on specific dates. Myths like this tie us to the distant past when nature did, indeed, influence our lives. It is the day that the Groundhog comes out of his hole after a long winter sleep to look for his shadow.

If he sees it, he regards it as an omen of six more weeks of bad weather and returns to his hole.

If the day is cloudy and, hence, shadowless, he takes it as a sign of spring and stays above ground.

The groundhog tradition stems from similar beliefs associated with Candlemas Day and the days of early Christians in Europe, and for centuries the custom was to have the clergy bless candles and distribute them to the people. Even then, it marked a milestone in the winter and the weather that day was important.

0