Outside the Tin Hau Temple in the old Hong Kong district of Yau Ma Tei, the mood is festive. A band plays traditional Chinese music while a man and a woman sing Chinese opera.

Close by, Chinese fortune-tellers are busy dispensing advice on romance, money and family life.

Many Chinese people follow the ancient art of feng shui, which tells how various elements in the environment - water, wood, fire, metal and earth - affect human well-being.

On the eve of the Lunar New Year, Chinese people traditionally visit geomancers to seek advice on how to improve their luck in the coming 12 months.

With volumes of Chinese almanacs piled on his table, a Yau Ma Tei geomancer gives advice to a young woman looking for the right husband.

Feng shui experts say the Year of the Rooster will bring relative harmony. In contrast, The Year of the Monkey in 2004 was turbulent and marked by conflict between the elements of wood and metal. The year saw violence and unrest in Iraq and in the Ukraine and the biggest natural disaster in recent times.

Geomancers say, however, that the next 12 months should see fewer conflicts.

Raymond Lo, a Hong Kong feng shui master, says that in the Year of the Rooster, the same elements will again clash. But he adds that the wood element is a symbolized by a flower this year, which signals flexibility.

"So therefore we expect more peace talks and more peace settlements will be achieved this year," he predicted.

Geomancers point out that the World War II, ended in 1945 - a Rooster year.

But they warn that natural catastrophes such as earthquakes will continue to plague the world. Several huge tremors have occurred in Rooster years, including a 9.1 magnitude earthquake in Alaska in 1957 that triggered a tsunami.

Mr. Lo also cautions people to watch out for fire.

"The Rooster is the birthplace of fire so therefore this year there could be some unexpected explosions and fire disasters," he said.

On the brighter side, the geomancers say the year will be good for the world economy. Fire-related businesses such as the stock market, commodities trading, real estate and entertainment are expected to do well. But businesses associated with wood, such as furniture and clothing, may encounter difficulties.

The Rooster symbolizes loyalty, bravery and hard work. Famous Roosters include the early American inventor and statesman Benjamin Franklin, the novelist William Faulkner and the reggae singer Bob Marley.