Chinese Year of the Water Dragon Raises Hopes of a Better Year For All

Added over 5 years ago

By Linda Heaphy


 chinese black dragon

A Chinese black dragon. Picture courtesy of Draconika


The Chinese New Year is celebrated by millions of people all over the world. Starting this year on January 24 and ending after two weeks on February 6, typical festivities include lavish displays of fireworks, street performances, feasts and family reunions. And this year the Chinese community celebrates the long-awaited return of the Water Dragon, a particularly auspicious manifestation of the sign that last appeared in 1952.

In Chinese astrology the Dragon is the fifth sign of the Chinese Zodiac, which consists of twelve animal signs, but is the only animal that is completely mythological. Made up of different parts of animals such as the tiger, deer, ox, fish, snake and eagle, dragons are seen to possess the superior attributes of all these animals and are regarded as symbols of power, wisdom, and superiority in Asia. The dragon has particular significance for the Han Chinese as it was chosen as their emblem 4,000 years ago when the warring tribes of China first united under a single emperor. The dragon often clutches a pearl in one claw, representative of it’s super-natural powers, and may be accompanied by thunder and rain, symbolizing it’s powerful yet unpredictable nature. It’s soft underbelly, however, signifies compassion, a gentler side overlooked by many.

In Asia it is considered extremely lucky to be born under the sign of the Dragon, with many families planning to have a child this year. Historically, birth spikes are always associated with Dragon years, including assisted reproductions and cesareans towards the end of the cycle. Those born in the Year of the Dragon are expected, for better or for worse, to be charismatic, decisive, principled and independent, but may also be regarded as ruthless, opinionated and unpredictable by their peers. However, the personal fortunes of Dragon children, and indeed those born under all the signs of the Chinese zodiac, actually depend on a highly complex association of characteristics dependent on the day, time and place in which a person is born – thus leading to thousands of possible variations in an individual’s destiny.

Overall, the advent of a Dragon year has brought a buzz of anticipation to the Asiatic world. Many consider astrology to be superstitious nonsense, however significant paradigm shifts have the power to influence events at a global level. The 2011's Year of the Rabbit, governed by a sign generally perceived as quiet and indecisive, will be in sharp contrast to that of the Dragon, expected to bring decisiveness, excitement, unpredictability and intensity to the global table. World share markets are predicated to responded positively to the change, with corresponding confidence in sectors such as retail and investment later in the year.

Why is a Water Dragon year considered to be so particularly lucky? Water calms the Dragon’s fire, allowing those born under the sign to see things from other points of view. This overall perspective can do no harm and may bring much good to a world troubled by financial uncertainty as well as state and religious turmoil. The Dragon reminds us that the time to pursue dreams and goals is now. May the Dragon bring good fortune and happiness to everyone. It is within us all to make it so.

mystic table of chinese astrology

 A Tibetan work, artist unknown. Reproduced in Waddell's "The Buddhism of Tibet..." p. 453 and Carus "Chinese thought" p 48.  It contains, on the shield of a tortoise (alluding to the animal that has revealed the Eight Trigrams to Fu Xi, and which was, in more canonical accounts, a "dragon horse") a chart with the 8 Trigrams and the 12 figures of Chinese zodiac cycle. The centerpiece is another, smaller, tortoise, the one that revealed the Luoshu magic square to Yu the Great.


References and further reading

Tags: Blog, China, Chinese New Year, Superstitions, Tribal Customs


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