Happy Chinese New Year
Gong Xi Fa Ca! That’s the traditional Chinese New Year greeting that means “wishing you prosperity” in Mandarin. The first day of the Chinese New Year – which begins at midnight on January 23, 2012 – is the most important of Chinese holidays, celebrated by over 1.3 billion people in China and by millions of ethnic Chinese around the world. It’s a celebration that lasts for 15 days, culminating with the Lantern Festival. Each year is associated with one of twelve animals in the Chinese zodiac. For 2012, it’s the Year of the Dragon.
The Chinese calendar is a lunisolar calendar, in other words, a combination of solar and lunar calendars. It has a long history spanning several Chinese dynastic rules from as far back as the Shang Dynasty around fourteenth century B.C. There are several different symbolic cycles within the calendar, used in Chinese astrology, that make it an intricate and complex measure of time.
A month in the Chinese calendar spans a single lunar cycle. The first day of the month begins during the new moon, when no sunlight falls on the lunar hemisphere that faces the Earth. A lunar cycle, on average, lasts 29.5 days, so a lunar month can last 29 or 30 days. Usually, there are 12 lunar months in a Chinese calendar year. In order to catch up with the solar calendar, which averages 365.25 days in a year, an extra month is added to the Chinese calendar every two or three years. As a result, Chinese New Year falls on different dates each year (in the Gregorian calendar) between January 21 and February 21.
Each year of the Chinese lunar calendar is represented by one of twelve animal symbols of the Chinese zodiac: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Boar. For 2012, it’s the dragon’s turn. 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.
The Dragon is a creature of myth and legend. A symbol of good fortune and sign of intense power, the Oriental Dragon is regarded as a divine beast - the reverse of the malicious monster that Westerners felt necessary to find and slay. In Eastern philosophy, the Dragon is said to be a deliverer of good fortune and a master of authority. Therefore, those people born in Dragon years are to be honored and respected.
THE WATER DRAGON 1952 AND 2012This year is the water Dragon. Water has a calming effect on the Dragon's fearless temperament. Water allows the Dragon to re-direct its enthusiasm, and makes him more perceptive of others. These Dragons are better equipped to take a step back to re-evaluate a situation because they understand the art of patience and do not desire the spotlight like other Dragons. Therefore, they make smart decisions and are able to see eye-to-eye with other people. However, their actions can go wrong if they do not research or if they do not finish one project before starting another.