2016: The Year of the Fire Monkey
You know when I said back in “New Year, New You Detox” that 2016 was the year for making life happen? Well the Chinese New Year on February 8 welcomes the reign of the Fire Monkey, so get ready to grab the reins because it promises to be an interesting ride.
When I think of “fire” and “monkey,” I think wildness. It could be fun or it could be chaotic but either way when this element and animal combine they bring an intensity and zeal to whatever they touch. Fire brings joy and, like the sun, provides the heat for growth. It can be relentless but it’s beautiful. The astrological sign of the Monkey is said to be intelligent, independent, curious, and restless. Monkeys are creative problem-solvers and like to have fun. They’re clever and mischievous, which means when they’re bored they can get up to tricks. If you know a Monkey (born in 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004) you know that although they’re entertaining they’re not easily controlled, and their shenanigans can leave a messy wake. That’s what we can expect in 2016. But if you channel the Fire Monkey’s drive and independence and keep a lookout for falsehood (remember the Monkey can be tricky), your projects will flourish. With all the creativity and energy in the air it’s a perfect time to move forward and achieve your goals. Do you have a special idea waiting to spring? Monkeys don’t hold back, they laugh at conventions and make their own rules. Be bold, be cunning and agile, and the year will deliver its best.
Paris enjoys massive CNY celebrations. (The city has a long history of absorbing Chinese immigrants. Visit Belleville or the 13e arrondissement to absorb a touch of the Orient yourself, or check out the striking Pagoda in the 17e.) The celebrations include parades, dragons and lion dances, martial arts demonstrations, concerts, conferences, and more. The parade in the 13e is enormous, with over 200,000 spectators. The Carrousel du Louvre will be decorated with Chinese parasols and lights, and a week of light parades begins January 31. Check here for an overview in English and here in French for more details.
And don’t forget to eat your dumplings—it’s good luck to polish off “raviolis” (as they’re called in French) at midnight on the first day of the year. I love dumplings so much I’ve been known to have them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner all on the same day, so I figure any time you eat them it’s good luck. I like them “fait maison” or made in house, and here are my faves. Raviolis Chinois Nord-Est is a tiny hole in the wall and the service is usually grouchy. It’s right in the middle of Belleville’s quasi red light district—the last time my husband met me there he was approached by no less than three middle-aged prostitutes. But that all adds to the charm. When a hot plate of freshly fried dumplings and a bowl of seaweed soup are set in front of you, everything is beautiful. There’s now a second location in Châtelet. L’Art du Ravioli in the 3e is also a hole in the wall, but the chef is stationed in the window so you can watch her roll out the flour or crimp the edges as you stroll by. The dipping sauces are intense (strong vinegar and a nice hot chili), but they match perfectly the dumpling’s flavor. I get them with “liserons d’eau,” a mellow green vegetable, so I can pretend I’m not just a dumpling addict. Although since this is the year of the Fire Monkey and anything goes, perhaps I should make it a goal to eat as many of these little tasties as possible…
Xin Nian Kuai Le (shin nan kwai luh)! Happy New Year!