China braces for Year of the Monkey

China braces for Year of the Monkey

China is gripped with monkey fever as millions of Chinese braced to bid adieu to not so lucky year of sheep and welcome the year of monkey next month.

The Chinese lunar calendar assigns an animal symbol to each year in a 12-year cycle. According to the zodiac, 2016 is the Year of the Monkey.

The Chinese Lunar New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, falls on February 8 this year, ending the Year of the Sheep.

The monkey comes ninth in the 12-animal rotation, following the sheep and preceding the rooster. Others include rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, dog and pig.

According to the zodiac, people born during the Year of the Monkey are thought to be smart, lively and playful contrary to the outgoing year of sheep which was stated to be unlucky year for the new born.

Chinese stores, offices, homes and cars will be decorated with zodiac-themed trinkets weeks before the lunar new year, offering a boom for businesses across the country.

In Yiwu, Zhejiang province, the world's largest wholesale market for small consumer goods has entered the high season.

At the Festival Commodities Market, wholesale dealers can be seen hawking monkey-themed paintings, scrolls with traditional couplets, toys and lucky charms.

The scene is similar in the nearby city of Jinhua, where businesses are busy introducing their latest monkey products to customers.

"This year's major products are lucky paper with the Chinese character 'Fu' (happiness) and couplets on scrolls," a businesswoman surnamed Lu told state-run Xinhua news agency.

"Gold ingots with monkey images are also very popular." Even foreign businesses are cashing in on the monkey fervour, adding primates to imported watches, chocolates and charm bracelets found on e-commerce site Taobao.com.

Meanwhile, a trailer for the film "Monkey King 2" starring Hong Kong actor Louis Koo has just been released.

The sequel to one of China's most successful domestic films will be released on the first day of Spring Festival, February 8.

Enthusiasm for monkey products shows the Chinese people's excitement for the country's biggest holiday, which is generally celebrated with family reunions and is a time of happiness, courage and hope, said Wang Kaiyu, a researcher at the Anhui Academy of Social Sciences.

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