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Year of the Fire Monkey
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승인 2016.01.07  14:09:49
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▲ 2016 is the Year of the Monkey. Photo by Paul Rollison

Year of the Fire Monkey
The Year of the Monkey is upon us in 2016 as the ninth in the cycle of 12 zodiacal animals in the Chinese calendar.

Although there are no monkeys native to Korea, their resonance can be found throughout local culture, especially in traditional paintings, clay dolls and gravestones.

The animal is most associated with the seventh lunar month, south-southwest and the time between 3pm and 5pm.

Just as one would expect for such a humanlike creature, the monkey of Chinese folklore is filial, complex and tightly entwined with human destiny.

Being so close to humans, the monkey is cunning, mischievous and even sometimes unlucky, as in regional folklore. Talking about monkeys was even taboo in the morning in some traditions.

As well as bringing some bad luck, they bring plenty of good luck. Accordingly, their statues are often found outside big buildings or temples for protection.

They are also fruitful, so this is a great time for fertility and renewal. Their skill and cunning means that any new life is set for a career in engineering, however.

With such talent it is no surprise that monkeys are a bit full of themselves, which makes them great satirists, as seen in the traditional Korean talchum dance which mocks those in power.

This humor and zest for life means they are also with us for a long time and are symbols of longevity.

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