Saturday, February 18, 2012

Happy Year of the Dragon

Last year was my first Chinese New Year post. In fact, I was a little ashamed to realize that I had such a limited knowledge of the Asian Tradition.

Interestingly, since the Time Square Ball Dropping New Year's celebration, my 2011 Chinese New Year post has received a spike in "reads".  I tried to decide if I would write a 2012 Chinese New Year post and almost didn't. There were two reasons I thought my Chinese New Year thoughts were a one-time musing. The first reason is/was that I didn't post about it on January 23rd (or even the 24th). The second reason is that I wasn't sure I could find something new to explore for how the Chinese New Year fits into my life.

I'm glad that I decided to revisit the topic, because, of course, there is more to explore.

Please don't judge me for my lack of knowledge of this holiday. There are many holidays that I was not raised with that I do not know details about. My lack of knowledge is not an indicator of my lack of respect. (At least I don't intend it to be.)

Anyway, I did not realize until I started toying with the idea of writing about the Year of the Dragon, that the New Year celebration actually lasted until the first full moon (2/6/12).  So, with that new knowledge, I'm still late to the "party" but I wanted to write about it anyway.

Last year I learned that I was born in the year of the Tiger. Knowing this is no different than knowing the year in which I was born. (You will have to check Tiger years if you want to guess my age.)  For me, naming the years based on an animal can be similar to thinking of it as a memory tool. --You know, like knowing that the last year of the Dragon was 2001.

The years also have qualifiers (Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water). 2012 is a year of the Water Dragon. 2001 was a Metal Dragon. The last Water Dragon year was 1952.

I struggled with History classes in both high school and college.  To this day I regret taking a World History course in college when it was not required.  (The university made it a requirement for Freshmen entering college the year after I did). Why do I regret this choice? Because it brought down my GPA. Calculus did a number on my GPA as well.  But that was necessary for me to learn some major concepts (like, I shouldn't choose a major that required calculus).

Coming back to my point about the naming of years and history. If I had thought to think of timelines in a different way than what was presented, I may have remembered more of what makes history important.

Anyway, the Year of the Dragon is thought to bring: Well, I'm not quite sure. But I understand that people born in the Year of the Dragon are typically brave and innovative highly driven and successful.

The celebration of the Chinese New Year includes decorating with things that symbolize wealth happiness and good fortune.  It's also a time of gift giving and thinking only good thoughts.

The home should be cleaned before the start of the New Year so that there is a fresh start and there is no need to focus on "work" in the first days of the New Year.  The tone of New Year celebration week sets the tone for the year.  So, you want to be zen with your world during this time. You know, peaceful, harmonious home, and having/promoting harmony in your relationships.

While I was only familiar with the first day of the Chinese New Year, the 15-day celebration is marked with a different emphasis each day.  For Example:
Day 1: Is to Honor You Elders (specifically in your own family).
Day 3: Typically is not for socializing with relatives or friends (I'm not sure if this is a day of meditation or what...more research is definitely needed.)
Day 15: Is the final day of the Chinese New Year and often includes a Lantern Festival.

I began writing this post back on Feb. 5th. But stepped away and didn't finish. I've decided this day is a good day to share my very little knowledge of the Traditions of the Chinese New Year.


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  1. Hi, fellow campaigner here. My so-called fiancé was also born in the year of the dragon, though he acts more like a goat year person like I am than a real dragon.

    I tagged you at my blog.

  2. Thanks for sharing! I've never really studied much about Chinese New Year, so anything you share is new information to me. :) I'm stopping by from the Campaign to say hello-- we're in the same group!


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