Chinese communities in the country and in many parts of the world welcomed the Year of the Fire Monkey, the ninth in the Chinese Zodiac, at midnight last night, marking the first day of the first lunar month in the Chinese calendar.
Also known as Spring Festival or Lunar New Year, the celebration of the Chinese New Year, the longest and most important of the traditional Chinese holidays, ends 15 days later with the observance of the Lantern Festival.
Lunar New Year dates back to 2600 BC when Emperor Huang Ti introduced the first cycle of the Chinese zodiac. This year marks the 4,713th Chinese year.
Based on the Chinese Almanac, the Year of the Fire Monkey begins on February 8, 2016 and ends on January 27, 2017.
Similar to western astrology, the characteristics of the animal that rules the year are believed to define individuals born under the sign of the Monkey or those born in 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, and 2016. (Christina I. Hermoso)