Chinese New Year 2012 began today, Monday, Jan. 23, 2012, and will usher in the Year of the Dragon. Celebrations have been held for the two weeks leading up to Jan. 23 as revelers from Hong Kong to San Francisco geared up for the most important holiday in the Chinese cultural tradition. However, the event has become a multicultural affair, celebrated many nationalities. The Chinese New Year lasts for 15 days, thus I have decided that it is the perfect time to publish a series of posts about homosexuality and Asia from historical and contemporary perspectives.
The Chinese New Year is symbolized by a new animal zodiac, determined by a 12-year cycle. Last year was the Year of the Rabbit. But 2012 welcomes a more commanding beast — the Dragon.
Who is the Dragon?
The Dragon is anything but a formidable foe in Chinese culture. Unlike the demon that gets slayed in Western literature, the Dragon is a symbol of good fortune and intense power in Eastern culture. In Chinese tradition, the Dragon is regarded as a divine beast.
According to 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, meant to symbolize its supernatural powers.
The Year of the Dragon is one of the most revered years of the Chinese New Year calendar, and those born under the sign are regarded as innovative, passionate people who are colorful, confident and fearless.
The Manila Bulletin cites that the Dragon is sometimes called a “karmic sign.” The Dragon is larger than life and its appearance means that big things are to come. The Year of the Dragon is a flowing river, not a stagnant lake, so things happen quickly earlier in the year. The Dragon marks progression, perseverance and auspiciousness. It may also bring about unpredictable events.
The five Chinese elements are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. The Dragon is made of Earth, Water and Wood. The Chinese New Year 2012 will primarily be a water year. This could mean riches and abundance or it could mean natural disaster.
Hong Kong astrologer Alion Yeo said the world should prepare for storms and floods. “Expect to see a lot of flooding in areas like Thailand and Southeast China,” he said. “Indonesia, Pakistan, India and places in China like Sichuan, Yunnan and Guizhou are particularly disaster-prone. They are likely to experience frequent earthquakes.”
Earth elements prosper from Water. So if an individual has a strong Earth-related sign, then he or she will have the opportunity to make money in 2012. This year can also be prosperous for those with Metal and Wood-related signs. However, Wood signs must mind their words and actions as an unsavory reputation looms this year.
Water is not a good omen for Fire signs, as Fire fears water. Fire signs must be mindful of their personal safety, conservation efforts and exhibiting patience in 2012. However, female Fire signs could see blossoming social relationships in the Year of the Dragon, including romantic ones.