I just realized that it's the Chinese "Year of the Horse." The Chinese zodiac – or Shēngxiào – is a calendar system originating in the Han dynasty (206-220BC), which names each of the years in its 12-year cycle after an animal: the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig, in that order. According to the system, the universe is made up of five elements – earth, water, fire, wood and metal – which interact with the 12 animals, resulting in the specific character of the year ahead.
The Asian Art Museum has a lot of wonderful events planned but start first with the essay on the horse in Chinese art on their blog. Admission on Sunday is free and there is sure to be a crowd.
I am a "wood monkey" in the Chinese zodiac. I wonder what the upcoming year has in store for me. Last year was sure a mixed bag of the sweet and the sour: http://blog.asianart.org/blog/index.php/2014/01/27/horses-ancient-china/
People born in the year of the horse are said to be a bit like horses: animated, active and energetic – they love being in a crowd. They are quick to learn independence – foals can walk minutes after birth – and they have a straightforward and positive attitude towards life. They are known for their communication skills and are exceedingly witty. One of my favorite actors was born in a horse year and he has quite the reputation for wit - as well as being very restless in his private life.
According to the Independent On Line, it will be a fast year full of conflicts according to some astrologers, who see wood as providing fuel for the energetic horse sign. The later part of the year is “yin fire”, increasing the potential for heated clashes even more. Feng shui practitioner Raymond Lo told Reuters: “The upcoming Horse year is also a 'yang wood' year, when people will stick more to their principles and stand firm. So it is hard to negotiate or compromise as there are more tendencies for people to fight for their ideals.”
When horse meets horse, the natural Ying-Yang opposition is no longer balanced and thus over the next year horses are due some tense situations and pressure in their personal life. Conflicts, disasters, record high temperatures, an economic chill in Asia and more trouble for Justin Bieber -- the upcoming Year of the Horse is set to be a dramatic one, say Hong Kong feng shui masters.
With the Year of the Snake slithering into history, they say that the incoming Lunar New Year beginning on Friday is going to be the kind of horse that you shouldn't stand behind -- because it incorporates the volatile element of fire.
Oh - and watch out for volcanos.