You probably already knew that Chinese people use a special way to mark the year known as the “earthly branches”. In case this doesn’t sound familiar, the method attributes an animal to each year, otherwise known as the “Chinese zodiac”. In addition, since there are 12 months in a year, every month also has a specific animal attributed to it too (according to the lunar calendar of course). The lunar New Year will bring about the year of the monkey, and the fifth month of the lunar year will be around June of 2016. So why will Chinese people be busy by then? It all originates from a Chinese idiom “猴年马月(hóu nián mǎ yuè)”.
The word for word translation of this idiom is “monkey year horse month”. It is used to indicate a moment in the remote future, or a moment that will never come. If Chinese people say they have to wait until the “monkey year horse month” to have something done, the implication is that thing would never happen. Often you will hear many people complain that they can’t afford the house in big cities like Beijing or Shanghai, so they would say:
wǒ yào děng dào hóuniánmǎyuè cái néng zài Běijīng mǎi fángzi.
I have to wait until “monkey year horse month” to buy a house in Beijing.
Well now the time is among us! This year the “monkey year horse month” will start on 5th June and end on 3rd July in 2016. In good humor many Chinese netizen have said “It feels like I can finally see the result of many things I’ve been waiting for.”
猴(hóu)-monkey (the year of 2016)