Exeter, Devon UK • Apr 18, 2024 • VOL XII

Exeter, Devon UK • [date-today] • VOL XII
Home LifestyleCulture The Year of the Dragon

The Year of the Dragon

Sophie Zoltowski explores the story behind the Year of the Dragon and why this particular zodiac is such an important aspect of the Chinese tradition.
2 minutes read
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Image: Oliver Needham via Unsplash

For over 3,000 years, history and myths surrounding the Chinese New Year have been celebrated annually to cast away bad energy and celebrate new hopes with loved ones. As legend has it, the monstrous beast Nian had preyed upon Chinese villagers and small children every year, until the town came together to fend the creature off with red lights, red papers and deafening firecrackers. Nowadays, this colour is central in the parades and feasts that bring Chinese families together during the months of January and February. The two-week event is comprised of various celebrations for different days, such as gifting money or commemorating the deceased, and finally closed with a beautiful Lantern ceremony on a full moon evening.

This year, the 12-year zodiac sequence falls on the Year of the Dragon: the most powerful and desired symbol. Its associations with good fortune, intelligence and power make it an attractive year for anyone planning a prosperous future. According to the story of the Zodiac, the Dragon is a selfless and benevolent character that risks its place in the mythical race to provide water to a drought-striken village, despite its powers of flight. Its ability to control water and weather, even breathe clouds, represents the idea of a fruitful harvest, and consequentially a fruitful life. The animal therefore renders a perfect image to commemorate in the forms of dances and puppets, or as a guardian figure on palace buildings. Water is just one of the five fundamental elements of the zodiac that the dragon adopts. This 2024, it is wood, a mark of achievement.

Its associations with good fortune, intelligence and power make it an attractive year for anyone planning a prosperous future.

The Dragon is in fact so admired and its tradition so upheld, that expectations for the year drastically increase. It is believed that with the luck of the Dragon, one can find good fortune in relationships, jobs, and even in childbirth. Some couples have timed their marriage to align with the Dragon years in the belief it would give them, and their unborn children, the best possible future. This idea has even passed through the states, and consequentially the idea of a ‘dragon baby’ was born. For others, it is also a year to put more time and money into children or families, with high hopes for success.

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