Year of the Monkey celebrations swing into action
While the western world is well recovered from its own New Year festivities, Chinese New Year is only partway through its 23-day celebration, with February 8 officially marking the start of the Year of the Monkey.
University of Queensland Confucius Institute Director Professor Ping Chen said Chinese New Year was based on the lunar calendar, so the most important event in Chinese culture falls on different dates each year.
“The New Year celebration is believed to go back to the Shang Dynasty around 2800 years ago,” Professor Ping said.
“Some scholars believe it originated as far back as Emperor Yao or Emperor Shun more than 4000 years ago.”
This year the festival will farewell the year of the sheep and welcome the monkey, known for its wit and intelligence.
“The year of the monkey is considered a good year to have a baby,” Professor Ping said.
“For those born in Monkey years—2004, 1992, 1980 and every 12 years previously—chrysanthemum flowers are considered very lucky, but monkeys should avoid the colour pink and the number seven.”
There are some tricks for everyone to get a little extra luck—by wearing red to ward off evil spirits or accessorising with jade to keep away bad luck.
The holiday period is widely considered the largest human migration, with millions travelling home to and within China to celebrate with family and friends.
More than one billion Mandarin speakers will wish each other “Gong Xi Fa Cai” 恭禧發財 (Happy New Year).
Professor Ping said The Confucius Institute at the University of Queensland would start the year of the monkey by promoting Chinese language and culture.
“We will be supporting our friends in Cairns and Innisfail, including bringing calligraphy, wushu martial arts and tai chi performances to schools,” Professor Ping said.
“Students are always excited to participate in events that highlight different cultures and experiences.
“We also plan to open a new Mandarin language teaching facility at Indooroopilly State High School in the coming month.”
Chinese New Year celebrations and performances will be held around Brisbane for the next few weeks.
Confucius Institute at the University of Queensland
The Confucius Institute at The University of Queensland was established under an agreement between UQ and the Office of Chinese Language Council International (Hanban) in China, and in partnership with Tianjin University, China. In addition to promoting the learning of Chinese language and culture at UQ and in the broader community, the UQ Confucius Institute seeks to build and deepen links and collaborative opportunities with China in the fields of science, engineering and technology (SET).
UQ School of Languages and Cultures
The UQ School of Languages and Cultures specialises in teaching and research in major world languages and cultures, and is committed to the highest standards of teaching and research in these languages, the cultures in which they are spoken, in linguistics and applied linguistics and in translating and interpreting. They pursue these studies in the interests of scholarship, promoting understanding of languages other than English, and developing linguistic and intellectual skills relevant to students’ personal and professional goals.