The Year of the Monkey – believed to produce people able to influence others with their charm and wisdom – gets off to an early start Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. at Hiram Johnson High School, 6879 14th Ave., Sacramento.
Chinese New Year – the 4714th year in the Chinese calendar – officially begins Feb. 8, but the nonprofit Chinese New Year Cultural Association is launching a full day of dragon dances, martial arts, singing, food and cultural exhibits to kick off the holiday shared by several Asian cultures, said co-organizer Vicki Beaton. Immigrants from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and other parts of southeast Asia have come together to promote understanding of Chinese culture, Beaton said. People born in previous Monkey years – 1908, 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, and 2004 – are thought to be cheerful, dynamic, confident, charismatic, intelligent, clever, inventive, loyal and natural leaders. They also can be seen as crafty, egocentric, arrogant and easily discouraged.