2017, the Year of the Rooster.

 The Year of the Monkey is drawing to a close. On January 28, we’ll enter the Year of the Rooster, sometimes called the Year of the Cock. (Funny, they never call it the Year of the Hen.)

As the previous year was ending, I heard lots of complaints about 2016. “Worst year ever.” “I’ll be glad when it’s over.” Likewise some of my friends have been expressing fears about what will happen in 2017. And, Heaven knows, we have legitimate reason for fear and complaint.

But tomorrow, as we pass beyond the sway of the mischievous monkey and into the Year of the Rooster, let me just say a word about the delights and tribulations of every year and also a word or two in support of monkey years and rooster years.

I’m partial to both of those years. Our oldest daughter was born in 1968, a monkey year, and our second daughter was born in 1969, a rooster year. For our family, those were very good years.

They weren’t good for everyone, though.

While my husband and I were celebrating our firstborn, North Vietnam launched the Tet Offensive, American soldiers took part in the My Lai massacre, Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy were assassinated, and Richard Nixon was elected president. A very bad year.

On the other hand, 1968’s Year of the Monkey also ushered in Boeing’s 747 Jumbo jet; Apollo 8 orbited the moon; and President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act.

Eighteen months later, during the Year of the Chicken, my husband and I celebrated the birth of our second daughter.

It was 1969, another good year for us. But the Vietnam War was still dragging on, anti-war demonstrations were spreading, and Charles Manson and his family of girls were committing grisly murders.

On the positive side of the ledger, in 1969, a man walked on the moon for the first time.




So what will 2017 have in store for us? Chinese astrologers have many predictions for the Year of the Fire Rooster. Here’s one of them:


We need to brace ourselves for a period of immense changes. Fire destroys Metal, and this destructive relationship means challenges double during the year. Yet, the Fire Rooster shines like a bright star in the dark sky, bringing hope and transformation to those who know how to act harmoniously around prevailing circumstances.

I like the predictions of hope, transformation, and acting harmoniously. Predictions aside, though, there is one thing we can be sure of: The Year of the Rooster will be a mixture of both good and bad.

May it be a good one for you and for those you love. Happy Chinese New Year.

About Nicki Chen

About Nicki Chen Nicki Chen is a writer living in Edmonds, WA. Her first novel, Tiger Tail Soup, is set in China during the Japanese invasion and occupation, 1937-1945. She's working on a second novel set in Vanuatu, a South Pacific nation where she and her late husband lived in the early '90s.
China, Chinese New Year, family, fortune-tellers, holidays , , , , , , ,


  1. I was definitely one of those people who cheered when 2016 ended. But it had its good moments. This year seems to be flying by. It’s almost February already!

    • In the history of the United States, this Year of the Rooster will probably weigh in on the bad side. And for that I’m really sorry. But, even though we are part of the whole and need to do our part for our nation, we are also part of our family, our neighborhood, and our town, and we’re also individuals. For most of us, the largest issues don’t necessarily define our lives and our happiness. Unhappily, for those in the midst of war, political events loom much larger. Thanks be to God that we haven’t had a war on our soil for more than a hundred years.

  2. “I like the predictions of hope, transformation, and acting harmoniously.” So do I, Nicki. Of course every year deals us some good and bad, but thank God there’s always hope. Wishing you a healthy and happy new year!

    • Timi Yeseibo hosted an excellent post this past January 8 on LIVELYTWIST called, “Hope, Our Common Denominator.” In it, the author quoted Junot Diaz as writing in the New Yorker, “Radical hope is not so much something you have but something you practice.” It’s an excellent post in case you missed it.

  3. I am hoping for more good than bad but whatever happens, we will survive and learn. Cock-a-doodle-doo!

  4. Happy new year Nicki 😀

  5. It’s definitely destined to be a tumultuous year, I think. And very fitting that we have a ridiculous coxcomb for a President. Ugh.

  6. Let’s all hope for a better year whatever animal rules.

  7. I hope for the best this year, all this madness happening around is just sickening.It reached a point already where I don’t want to look at the news anymore for fearing what is written there 🙁

    • I think each of us has to decide how much news is good for us, when to watch and when to look away. I watch quite a bit of news. Most of the time I think it doesn’t bother me, but maybe I’m kidding myself. One thing that helps: Four times a day I do some breathing exercises for my asthma that are very meditative.

  8. CMytelka

    I love the Chinese paintings and photos. Maybe paint a hen during 2017?

    • Thank you, Chris. I found those old rooster paintings in a trunk. It’s been too many years since I did Chinese brush painting. I think I’m too rusty to paint a nice hen.

  9. Charleen Relyea

    2016 was a frustrating year, especially in politics. I didn’t get anything l voted for! Your advice about the rooster and the monkey was well taken, and l shall work on that. Thanks.

    • I agree, Charleen, 2016 was a frustrating year. I’m not giving up on politics, though. The Women’s March this year was inspiring. My sister, two of my daughters and my grandson marched. And I’m looking forward to June when my granddaughter graduates from Princeton. I’m sure there will be many more good things to enjoy this and challenges to work our way through.

  10. That is a really nice painting of the chicken. It looks like it knows its place in the world with a decisive look about it, yet there is so much grace about it and its elegant surroundings. That painting’s a keeper.

    I am one of those people who thought last year wasn’t the best and couldn’t wait for it to finish. Things are picking up now, and I like that positive outlook at the end of the horoscope. There will be good and bad, but we can all make a choice as to how we can react. Happy Chinese New Year.

    • I painted those chickens a long time ago when I was studying Chinese brush painting under Professor Chen Bing Sun. I haven’t found a place to hang them, so they’ve been hiding out in a trunk. One problem, I had them mounted on the same scroll, and I don’t like the way it looks. Thank you for your kind words.

      I’m glad things are picking up for you. You made an excellent point: Good or bad, the important thing is how we react.

      • Such a renowned teacher you had there in painting. Very lucky to be one of his students. Maybe you could frame some of the scrolls up one day 🙂

        • I was lucky to have studied under Professor Chen Bing Sun. He was a dedicated painter and a kind and generous teacher. I have had quite a few paintings framed, the biggest one is a painting of two tigers leaping into the South China Sea. The painting was inspired by a story my late husband told, the same story that for which I named my novel, Tiger Tail Soup.

  11. I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new [year], a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning. ~ J.B. Priestley

    Happy New Year! Cock-A-Doodle-Doo to You!

    • I admire your ability to come up with a good quote to add to the conversation. Priestly put into words something we probably all feel, and he gives it an extra shine by evoking “a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning.”

      Happy Lunar New Year.

  12. Lovely post, Nicki! Happy New Year!

  13. Traveller at heart

    Happy New Year, Nicki.

    Love your paintings. They are ace.

    You are a sage. Words of substance from you and Mabel Kwong.

  14. Happy Chinese New Year, Nicki! Hope the good pushes out the bad 🙂

    • Happy Chinese New Year, Lani. I hope you’ll have a wonderful year. I’m afraid that here in the US we’ll have to work darn hard to have the good push out the bad. But a lot of people are ready for it.

  15. Happy New Year to you, Nicki, whatever it brings 🙂

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