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Chinese Zodiac Sign of the Monkey, the Symbol of Cleverness and Curiosity

  • Monkey-the Symbol of Cleverness and Curiosity Monkey-the Symbol of Cleverness and Curiosity
  • Tourist Plays with Monkey in Mount E'mei Tourist Plays with Monkey in Mount E'mei
  • Sun Wukong-the Most Recognizable Monkey Image in Chinese Cartoons Sun Wukong-the Most Recognizable Monkey Image in Chinese Cartoons
  • Money Image in Paper-Cuts Money Image in Paper-Cuts
  • Monkey Sculptures in Parks Monkey Sculptures in Parks
  • Monkey Sculpture on the Stone Hitching Post Monkey Sculpture on the Stone Hitching Post

Ranking the ninth place on the Chinese zodiac, the monkey is the sole anthropoid primate animal which has an intimate relationship with human beings. Universally acknowledged as the most versatile Chinese zodiac sign, monkey is often referred to irrepressible curiosity and imaginative power. Owing to their natural quick-wittedness they are able to understand what is happening and make a right decision to their own benefits. In Chinese, people usually use monkey to describe a clear and mischievous person. With reference to the earthly branch which is function as a time reckoning system, the monkey is associated with the earthly branch symbol Shen. Shen with a 2-hour period from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm when applied to an exact day is the most active time during which monkey likes to crow.

In many occasions, the monkey is compared to a smart person. Early in the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC), the dignified official title of marquis and monkey shares the same mandarin pronunciation “Hou”. Bestowed with auspicious meanings, it is quite prevalent in officialdom to paste monkey’s pictures on walls or doors to bring promising future and fortune. In ancient China, courtiers and aristocrats often wore monkey-shaped suet white jade to signify their noble identities and make their outlook brighter. One world famous Chinese mythological novel Pilgrimage to the West visually depicted a monkey hero character named Sun Wukong who protected his master from dangers created by variety kinds of monsters and beasts along their journey to the west.

As for monkey’s position on the Chinese zodiac, there was a funny story. The legend told that monkey was not a candidate of the 12 zodiac animals initially. Whereas, the monkey was a capable assistant of the jungle king tiger who has been selected as one of Chinese zodiacs relatively earlier. One day tiger fell into the hunter’s trap and exerted every effort attempting to break away from the net but failed. It was monkey who saved his life. Feeling grateful to the monkey, tiger promised that he would try his best to fulfill monkey’s wishes. By means of speaking good words about monkey to the Jade Emperor, tiger finally succeeded in helping monkey obtain a place on the list of Chinese zodiac animals.

Respected as the most intelligent animal, monkey is deeply rooted in traditional Chinese customs. The Zhuang nationality in Guangxi Province celebrates Love Monkey Festival on May 5th in Chinese lunar calendar every year. At that time, people offer monkeys their favorite food such as pumpkins, bananas, corns, and other kinds of fruit feeding to their appetites. This festival is held to thank monkeys for bringing food to soldiers in Song Dynasty who were responsible for protecting the local villages while trapped in deep forest and run out of food supply. Not only in China, monkey enjoyed high prestige in Thailand as well. The famous Monkey Gourmet Festival firstly held in 1989 fells on November 25th every year in central Thailand Lopburi that is perceived as the paradise of monkey.

One famous tourist attraction in relation to monkey in China is the Mount E’mei located in Sichuan Province which was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. As one of the Four Sacred Buddhist Mountains of China, Mount E’mei has seventy-six Buddhist monasteries of the Ming and Qing Dynasties which demonstrate a flexible architecture style. In addition to Mount E’mei, Monkey Mountain in Gongyi City, Henan Province is famous for its monkey-shaped mountain.

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