Chinese New Year
People walk by a display for the upcoming Year of the Monkey for the Chinese New Year in BeijingGetty

The Chinese New Year will take place on 8 February this year, with lantern parades, festivals and parties ringing in the year of the monkey.

The New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year or the Spring Festival, is marked by the lunisolar Chinese calendar. This means the date changes every year, but mostly falls between 21 January and 20 February in the Gregorian calendar. Festivities usually start the day before the New Year and continue until the Lantern Festival, celebrated on the 15th day of the new year.

This year will welcome in the year of the monkey, part of an ancient tradition in which the Chinese zodiac attaches animal signs to each lunar year in a cycle of 12 years. The Chinese zodiac is separated into 12 blocks, each of which have a time-length of one year instead of one month like the western equivalent. The monkey is the ninth animal in the cycle, which will not take place again until 2028. Next year will mark the year of the rooster.

It is thought that the animals in the Chinese zodiac come from the Han Dynasty, when they were used to count years. The animal signs are the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. Each animal is associated with an "earthly branch" such as fire, water, metal or wood.

Which Chinese zodiac sign are you?

The Chinese zodiac signs are determined by the year in which you were born, which some believe affects your personality and future. Below is a rough guide to years of the zodiac.

Rat: 2008, 1996, 1984, 1972, 1960

Ox: 2009, 1997, 1985, 1973, 1961

Tiger: 2010, 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962

Rabbit: 2011, 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963

Dragon: 2012, 2000, 1988, 1976, 1964

Snake: 2013, 2001, 1989, 1977, 1965

Horse: 2014, 2002, 1990, 1978, 1966

Sheep: 2015, 2003, 1991, 1979, 1967

Monkey: 2016, 2004, 1992, 1980, 1968

Rooster: 2017, 2005, 1993, 1981, 1969

Dog: 2018, 2006, 1994, 1982, 1970

Pig: 2019, 2007, 1995, 1983, 1971

So, according to Chinese traditional astrology, what personality traits are associated with the year of the monkey?

People born in the year of the monkey are believed to be energetic, versatile, bright, mischievous, quick-witted, sociable and self-assured, particularly when it comes to making decisions about their careers and finances.

Weaknesses of those born in the year of the monkey include being cunning, selfish, arrogant and jealous. They have several shortcomings, including a short temper and a tendency to look down on others.

This year might not be so lucky for people born in the year of the monkey, with challenges in work and conflicts within their love lives. People born in years of the ox or rabbit are well-suited to people born in the year of the monkey, as they have several similarities in their personalities and can tolerate differences with space and freedom.