02 03 Travel, Photographs and Lifestyle: YEAR OF THE WATER DRAGON BEGINS TODAY JANUARY 23, 2012 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

YEAR OF THE WATER DRAGON BEGINS TODAY JANUARY 23, 2012

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Year of the Water Dragon begins today January 23, 2012, and ends on February 9, 2013. The year of the Dragon brings many possibilities for good fortune. 

Days of colorful festivals, intense preparations, parades, dragon and lion dances, fireworks display, visits to friends and relatives, and the largest human migration around the world to travel home to attend reunions culminated yesterday with the onset of the Chinese New Year, also known as Spring Festival or Lunar New Year, the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays.
 
New Year’s Eve traditions were observed including the thorough cleaning of homes, wearing of new clothes and shoes, opening of doors, windows, and lights, getting a new haircut, cleaning and repainting of altars, preparation of fruits believed to invite good fortune on tables, and the repainting of doors and window panes. The color red, the emblem of joy and prosperity and which is believed to scare away evil spirits and bad fortune, was liberally used in painting and decorating.

Lucky money in red envelopes were given to children, sweets were served, while some bathed in boiled pomelo leaves for good health.
 
The Eve of the Passing Year reunion dinners were also held serving an abundance of food like fish, chicken, dumplings, nuts, noodles, and sweets like the popular glutinous rice flour (tikoy) to symbolize prosperity, abundance, longevity, and good fortune as well as in thanksgiving for the blessings of the past year.

The celebration of the Chinese New Year traditionally begins on the first day of the first lunar month in the Chinese calendar and ends 15 days later with the observance of the Lantern Festival.

For the Chinese, dragons are the divine mythical creatures that bring with them intense power, ultimate abundance, and good fortune. 

In Sung dynasty manuscripts, the dragon is described as having the “head of an ox or donkey, eyes of a shrimp, horns of a deer, body of a serpent covered with fish scales, and a feet of a phoenix,” and it usually clutches a pearl symbolic of its supernatural powers.

To the Chinese, the dragon is born in the most desirable year and is the mightiest of the signs.

The Oriental dragon is regarded as a divine beast, the reverse of the monster that Westerners 
felt necessary to find and slay. 

Free spirits of the Chinese zodiac, people born in the Year of the Dragon are extroverts who have a deep love for nature and are innovative, passionate, enterprising, brave, self-assured, colorful, and flamboyant. Gifted and irrepressible, they are fearless of any challenges that may come their way, able to see clear the paths and take a radical approach to any harsh conditions.

Of the 12 signs of the Chinese zodiac, the dragon is the most special and is sometimes called a karmic sign. Bigger than life is very much a dragon thing and in this context we can expect grand things to happen this year. There may be flames and failures, but there will also be spectacular achievements. 

For those born in the Year of the Dragon, this year is the time to pursue and act on the impossible dream, change the world or at least your life. 

And for the other signs, it is the best chance to make your dreams come true. The dragon sign is associated with spring and the dragon water sign is likely to become a flowing river rather than a stagnant lake, which means that you need to begin 2012 off to a fast start as things are expected to happen early in the year. 

Hopefully we used some of the quiet time in the past year to plan your moves for 2012.

KUNG HEI FAT CHOY!

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