animated GIF

Happy New Year of the Fire Rooster

Fire Rooster animation

I’m about to astound you with a piece of knowledge that somehow evaded me til now, despite growing up in a Chinese family – the Chinese lunar calendar has a leap month! I know!!

It seems that lunar months are just 29 or 30 days long, shorter than the ones we use in the Gregorian calendar. So some years squeeze in a 13th month. In effect, the lunar calendar has a whole month added every 3 years or so. But its position in the year varies and, to add more confusion, the extra month has the same name as the previous one! No mere mortal can be bothered to calculate when it’s going to happen because it’s far too complicated, so we all just wait until the Chinese calendars are printed and released into the wild. In lunar leap years though, Chinese New Year tends to fall earlier than usual, in January rather than February.

28th January 2017 begins the year of the Rooster, the fire Rooster to be precise. Roosters are thought to be hard-working, resourceful, confident, active and like being centre of attention! If you were born in 2005, 1993, 1981, 1969, 1957, 1945, you are most probably a Rooster. More importantly though, 2017 also has a leap month which falls after June. So, whatever doesn’t go well in June you can have another go at in the following month – the ‘yun’ version of June (which loosely translates as enriched or nourished)!

Here’s wishing you a happy and enriching year of the fire Rooster!
Kung Hei Fat Choi
Mo and Dave (aptly aka The Cockburns)

Happy New Year of the Monkey!

One of the joys of Chinese New Year is that celebrations traditionally go on for 16 days … so there’s plenty of time to send out new year greetings!!

2016 begins the year of the Monkey. In celebration of this we thought we’d share with you a story of great achievement in a tiny monkey’s life:

An animated monkey in a space suit trying to grab a banana.

Miss Baker – The first American astronaut to survive a trip into space
On May 28th 1959, Miss Baker (a tiny squirrel monkey) and Able (a slightly bigger rhesus monkey) blasted off on a 16 minute mission into space. For the first time the NASA rocket and its astronauts returned safely home. Previous to that, only fruit flies and corn seeds had survived the journey. Sadly though Able died only four days later.

After a flurry of media attention (including an appearance on the cover of Life Magazine) Miss Baker retired from the space business. She went on to have a long and pampered life, during which she lived on cottage cheese and bananas and received fan mail from thousands of schoolchildren. She was married twice, first to Big George and then to Norman, neither of whom went anywhere special or did anything of note.

Miss Baker passed away in 1984 aged 27, at that point also holding the record for longest living squirrel monkey. She is buried at the US Space and Rocket Centre in Alabama where, to this day, admirers leave bananas on her headstone.

If you were born in : 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, or 2004, you are a Monkey and this is your year!

Some monkey ‘facts’:
Monkeys are witty, intelligent (obviously) and mischievous. They are hard workers, fast learners and crafty opportunists.
Lucky numbers: 1, 7 and 8
Lucky colours: white, blue and gold
Lucky directions: north, northwest and west (really?)
Lucky fruit: bananas (not really)

Kung Hei Fat Choi!
Mo and Dave

Happy New Year of the Sheep!

Animation of a cartoon sheep

… or is that goat?

From a language point of view, sheep and goats are the same in Chinese. This dawned on me whilst looking at the curious Loghtan sheep on the Isle of Man with my mother. She commented on their unusual appearance, and how some types of yang have two/four/straight/curly horns, some have beards, some … Beards? Hang on mum, you’re thinking of … erm, yang! You see, it’s the same word as they’re just variations of the same animal to the Chinese; a goat is basically a sheep up a mountain!

Regarding the Chinese zodiac, people born in the year of the Sheep are thought to be peace-loving, thoughtful, and kind, but with a tendency to be overly anxious, not very well organised, and a bit pessimistic! If you were born in the year of the Sheep (your age in this lunar year is divisible by 12) then it’s your year, starting today, February 19th 2015. Get out there and shake your fleece (or whatever it is sheep do).

The wonder of Chinese New Year is that it creeps up on you just when you thought your ‘new year, new you’ resolutions had all gone to pot, giving you the opportunity to have another go. So Happy New Year! Here’s a little GIF from us to you, proving that ‘you are what you think’ … so make them  good thoughts.

Thinking of ewe in the Year of the Sheep (see what I did there?)

Mo and Dave


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