Happy Year of the Dragon!

I would be completely remiss if I didn’t include this post! It’s the Lunar New Year (also known as the Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival in

image from open.edu

China) and 2012 is the Year of the DRAGON! RAWR!

 

Can you imagine a celebration that lasts for 15 days, with each day bringing new ideas, festivities, presents, traditions, feasts and reverence? What a party! And this year’s is certain to be especially boisterous, because according to legend, the Chinese are descendants of dragons!

In honor of this year’s “animal” (the Dragon), a new, commemorative stamp was printed in China which caused quite a stir, as many Chinese people thought the dragon looked “too scary” or “too fierce”.  Many Chinese view the dragon as graceful and lucky, a good omen, etc. and yet the artist who designed the stamp below drew inspiration from a design of “the dragon that used to adorn the Chinese emperor’s robes”.  Me, I happen to think it’s cool.

image from Stampnewsonline.net

The U.S. Post Office also came up with a Lunar New Year commemorative stamp (also way cool in my opinion):

image from beyondtheperf.com

One thing you may not know is that the ancient Chinese calendars used what is called the Stem-Branch system to count the days, months and years. There are 10 Stems and 12 Branches in this system. Stems are named by the Yin-Yang and Five Elements (Metal, Water, Wood, Fire and Earth). Branches use animal names.  Stem and Branch are used together to form a cycle of 60 counting systems which begin with Wooden Rat and end with Water Pig.  So each year has a specific “gender” (Yin or Yang) and “element” associated

image from indyposted.com

with the animal. You can learn more about it here or here, if you’re interested. 2012 happens to be the Male Black Dragon or Water Dragon year (in the Five Elements, Water is associated with the color Black).

So what characteristics does Dragon bring to the table of a new year? “According to Chinese astrology, people born on the year of the dragon are said to be strong, self-assured, eccentric, intellectual, and passionate, among other things.”  

“In contrast to European dragons, which are considered evil, Chinese dragons traditionally symbolize potent and auspicious powers, particularly control over water, rainfall, hurricane, and floods. The dragon is also a symbol of power, strength, and good luck. With this, the Emperor of China usually uses the dragon as a symbol of his imperial power.” (source: Wikipedia)

Did you know that Dragon has 9 sons?

image from 5d8z.com

 

The number 9 is considered sacred in China (and in many other places) and associated with heavenly, celestial power. The nine-storied pagoda is a symbol of heaven. The number nine is considered to be the luckiest number because all odd numbers are considered heavenly and nine is the highest single digit odd number; and the Chinese word for nine (jui) sounds like the Chinese word for “long” as in longevity or long life. Nine also symbolizes the nine layers of heaven and is associated with yang, male energy. (It also happens to be my personal lucky number…hmmm)

 

 

image borrowed from jobryantnz.wordpress.com

I could go on and on about dragons… I could tell you about how the number of claws an oriental dragon has depends on its place of origin!

image from frontiersofzoology.blogspot.com

I could tell you all about how the Chinese have 9 (surprised?) types of classical dragons!

 

I could also link a few of my favorite places to hunt dragon pictures

But I think this dragon needs some sleep…and you know what they say about sleeping dragons…;)

In the meantime, Gong Xi Fa Ca! (That’s the traditional Chinese New Year greeting that means “wishing you prosperity” in Mandarin.)

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About dragonkatet

Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.
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12 Responses to Happy Year of the Dragon!

  1. eebrinker says:

    thanks for the info! i didn’t know they had the 5 elements also associated with the year. i’m a Rabbit, which is pretty interesting that my grandmother was also a Rabbit. of course i don’t believe in traits assigned according to where or when born! lol — think genetics and the actual upbringing has much more to do with who and what we are. but it’s fun to look at horoscopes and appreciate the listing of psych prototypes.

    as our globe becomes smaller and smaller with more people and greater communications such as the internet — understanding other cultures, especially one as large as the Chinese — is more necessity than a passing indulgence. here’s to a future that enlists all world citizens to a better understanding of each other, with the strength to focus on compromise and continuance …. *clinks Chinese New Year glasses*

  2. dragonkatet says:

    😀 You’re welcome! I wish I was born under the sign of the dragon, but I am just a lowly metal pig. I know that Rabbit tends to be a more peaceful sign, and is said to represent compassion. They are also known to be sensitive and creative (and you are certainly all of those!) I think you’re definitely right about genetics and upbringing having more to do with who people turn out to be, though. And YES, I’ll second that toast! *Clink!* CHEERS!

  3. Bodhirose says:

    Who better to tell us of the Chinese Year of the Dragon but you! I don’t know much about the Chinese New Year and all its signs and meanings but I find it fascinating and have joined in a few times with the festivities being offered around town. Thanks for the interesting post. And I think those stamps are very cool too…even the fierce one!

    I’m a Rabbit too!

    • dragonkatet says:

      Aw, thanks, Gayle. 🙂 It’s the year of the Dragon, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to celebrate it here! Thanks for reading and the great comment. I’m glad someone else likes the stamps too!

  4. I love this post Corina! I am a dragon, this is my year and I really hope it will be a good one 🙂 Let’s see where my strong, self-assured, eccentric, intellectual, and passionate side will take me to this year 🙂 So happy Dragon year to all of us!

    • dragonkatet says:

      😀 Thanks, Blaga, it’s so nice to see you here! I think you are the only dragon that I know! I am SURE this will be a good year for you. ESPECIALLY Happy Dragon Year to YOU! xox

  5. booguloo says:

    Interesting information. I’m a horse and a bull lol.

  6. Luke Prater says:

    very interesting and informative post… I love how good you are with still and moving images. Are you in graphic design or somesuch field? Haven’t seen you around much recently, I hope you’re well, my friend?

    • dragonkatet says:

      Thanks, Luke. 🙂 Actually, I work at a university library, though I do have a background in visual arts and enough tech savvy to know some graphic arts tricks. I’m sorry I haven’t been around much lately…been struggling with some things and fighting off a bad case of ennui and winter doldrums. Seems like most of what I have been trying to write lately has been coming out as complete emotional crap, so I just haven’t been posting it. I’ll try and do better and get by to see your stuff more often. 🙂 Thanks for coming by! Seeing your smiling face here makes me smile, too.

  7. Jo Bryant says:

    love this post – how did I miss it ? Nice to see the wee puffer floating around as well. I am not sure what I am…must check it out.

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