year of the dragon

We are about to enter the Year of the Dragon!!  The Chinese New Year starts Monday and all predictions are that it will be a good one!! In China the New Year begins with one of the largest migrations of people as everyone who possibly can tries to travel back to where they came from.  Tickets are hard to get, roads are packed and Beijing is relatively deserted.  Kids get another holiday, factories shut down and restaurants close. We have decided not to travel and stay home for the week.

Dragon years are always considered auspicious.  The dragon is a symbol of luck, power and strength. There is always a bit of a baby boom every twelve years as people try very hard to give birth during this year of the astrological cycle. Sadly it causes some problems for these children, as the competition for spaces in school gets even tougher.

In China, unlike the west, dragons are good not evil. They have no wings, but can fly.  They control all water.  They were the symbol of the emperor.  And it is the only Chinese zodiac sign that is a mythical animal. Dragons are created with 9 (a lucky number) parts of other animal: the body of a snake, claws of an eagle, head of a camel, eyes of a tiger, deer horns, wolf mouth, ears of a bull and scales of a carp.

And this isn’t just any Dragon year… this is also a water year.  In Chinese astrology the relationship between the cycle year (dragon, rat, tiger etc.) and the element (metal, water, fire, wood and earth) determines what kind of year it will be.  Since 1996 these relationships have not been good… until now!! This year marks the end of this long destructive cycle.

We are told to expect big things during a dragon year.  It is a time to take chances. Dream big. And plan celebrations. There will also be more upheaval, both positive and negative, than usual.

While the dragon rules the eastern sky, the tiger commands the western half. I am a Tiger with a water element.  The Chinese believe the year you are born determines your personality. Tigers are supposed to be colorful and unpredictable: lovers of life and adventurous. They are quick tempered, emotional and unforgiving, passionate, playful, jealous and possessive. Tigers listen to others but do what they want.  They are impatient, dramatic and stubborn… My kids think it’s me to a T, particularly the emotional and unpredictable traits.  However, I suspect most teenagers think that about their parents.  Having to say where you are going and when you will be back is just so unreasonable!

The prediction for tigers during the year of the dragon is that it will be a lucky year, with 9 favorable months and lots of opportunities, a good time to be active, make commitments, begin new projects, take chances and live your dreams….

I know, I know… it’s all so silly, but maybe just maybe this will be a good year for everyone! Sure hope so!!  Happy New Year!

Photos are of Jack leading the dragon parade at school, with Hunter the day after Hun broke his nose acting in an improve play and a scene from the play!

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