Monday 23 January sees the beginning of the Chinese New Year festivities, opening what is destined to be a lucky year according to the Chinese zodiac. In Chinese mythology, the Jade Emperor called a race across a fast-moving river. The first twelve animals who reached the other side would feature in the zodiac which the Emperor wanted to create to measure the passing of time. Some animals employed sneaky ploys against their competitors (Rat, Snake), others worked together (Monkey, Rooster, Sheep), and some needed to stop for a snack half-way across (Pig).
The dragon, which according to legend graciously helped the Rabbit cross the river, is the most prestigious of animals within the Chinese calendar, seen to be a symbol of celestial power, strength and luck. The dragon brings happiness and success and this year is a very popular one for starting or expanding a family. Healthy and intelligent children are said to be born during this zodiac period and some estimates have predicted birth rates in China and Korea to increase 20% this year. We are encouraged to be bold in 2012, taking on social or business projects that we may have put off in the past.
The Chinese zodiac is comprised of 60 year cycles, as the 12 animals are associated with five elements; metal, wood, water, fire and earth. Black is the colour associated with water, therefore 2012 is the year of the black water dragon.
Water represents fluidity and this element is said to tame some of the dragon’s fiery characteristics. The water dragon is diplomatic, perceptive of others’ needs, and keen to negotiate. The next year falling under the domain of the water dragon will be 2072 so seize every opportunity that comes your way this year!
By Louise Abbott
Image source: http://www.bartoninsights.com/tag/chinese-new-year/