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Year of the Dragon

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Year of the Dragon

Happy Year of the Dragon! I'm still in the midst of celebrating Chinese New Year which started January 23, 2012. We celebrate the whole week long, and for some people for two weeks!

Even though I grew up in Hong Kong, still a British colony at that time, and have immigrated to Canada for a long time, I still observe the traditions because it is part of my culture and I think it's fun.

2 days before New Year - thoroughly clean the entire house to sweep away the bad luck of the previous year. Get a haircut and buy new clothes, socks, shoes to welcome the new year.

New Year's Eve - family reunion dinner.After dinner, one can go to a Chinese New Year's Eve fair to buy auspicious flowers like peach blossom or plants like mini tangerines for the New Year. Others would go to a temple at midnight.

New Year Day 1 - house to be decorated with red items and put away brooms so that good luck will not be swept away. Welcome guests with a red box full of candies and dried fruits. Wear new red outfit (sometimes even down to new red undies ^.^ ); visit elder relatives ( or call them if overseas); give red packets to little kids. If you are still single, you are still considered a "kid' and you can still receive red packets (with money inside! )

New Year Day 2 - visit my own family - again, call if overseas (married daughters are supposed to visit their own birth parents on this day)

New Year Day 3 - do not socialize with friends on this day as this day is prone to argument

New Year Days 4 to 6 - continue celebration and make sure you greet anybody you see with an auspicious saying

New Year Day 7 - celebrate this day which is supposed to be everybody's birthday

New Year Day 8 to 14- continue celebration and auspicious greetings

New Year Day 15 - this is Chinese Valentine's Day, so celebrate again !

Those are just fun traditions I follow. For those who want to know more about how the Chinese Zodiacs work, here's some information.

The Chinese calendar is a lunisolar calendar, incorporating elements of a lunar calendar with those of a solar calendar. The start of the year is based on the cycles of the moon, and this year it falls on January 23.

A complete cycle takes 60 years and is made up of five cycles of 12 years each. The animals representing the rotating 12 year cycle are the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, ram, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.

In addition to the 12 animals, the Chinese Zodiac involves 5 elements: metal, wood, water, fire and earth. These elements are associated with the 5 major planets Venus, Jupiter, Mercury, Mars, and Saturn, respectively.

The 5 elements and the 12 animals combine to create a 60-year cycle. This cycle, along with Yin and Yang, directions, the positions of the sun and moon, and the birth date and time are all used to help foresee a person's future.

Art Prints

Shown here is my wild grass calligraphy of the word "dragon" in Chinese. The original oracle bone script is a rough drawing of the dragon. It has evolved to the modern day character but you can still vaguely see the head and body on the left side, the back and tail on the right side.

May this bring you good luck and good health in the new year!