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Chinese New Year

Year of the Dragon

Dragon (born in 1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012, 2024, 2036, and 2048)

When it comes to nobility, the Dragon ranks high.  Known as a born leader, the Dragon is the perfect child and adult.  Extremely gifted with luck and strength, this person is usually well respected.  Known as being a perfectionist and idealist, the person under the Dragon sign has a difficult time with aging.  Because of this, you see the Dragon remaining youthful throughout life. 

Of all the Chinese zodiac signs, the Chinese see this as being the most desirable year to be born.  Believed to hold some type of magical powers, the Dragon is said to have the ability to fly in the heavens and swim in the seas.  The mystic that follows this person is intriguing!  According to Chinese legend, this individual thinks of him or herself as being invincible, often pushing things to a dangerous limit.

Positive Characteristics

 

As mentioned, this is the greatest of all years with the Dragon being powerful, artistic, intuitive, and even lucky. Other positive aspects of this person include giving sound advice, being influential, and showing enthusiasm.  Known as a dynamic person, the Dragon without doubt impresses.  You will also find the person under this sign to be generous and extremely tenacious.  In fact, when he/she sets the mind to accomplish something, there is success.

 

Since the Dragon is looked up to, the person is loved and admired.  For the female Dragon, having faithful suitors is also common.  Typically, whenever a Dragon enters a room, everyone takes notice.  Walking in with a sense of self- confidence, this person creates an automatic reaction.

 

The Dragon is also accommodating, which helps them mold into any situation but only if they are interested.  While this person is known for demanding a lot, they also give much in return.  It is common for this person to become completely involved in work, starting a project and then seeing it to completion.  The bottom line is that for this individual, winning at about anything is easy due to his/her high level of intelligence, logic, and hard work.

 

Negative Characteristics

 

The Dragon is strong and powerful, which usually works in his/her favor but because of these traits, a few negative characteristics are seen.  For example, this person is known for being stubborn, sometimes misjudging situations.  Another negative aspect of the Dragon is his/her big mouth, which can often cause problems.  Although this individual has good advice, he/she will also speak before thinking.

 

While being proud is a good thing, the Dragon takes it to extremes, which leads to temper problems.  Additionally, the Dragon often struggles with romantic relationship.  Some of these people fall in love, remaining highly devoted to their partner, especially while young while other Dragons never marry.  In fact, many Dragons are happiest when alone.  Of the two genders, the male under this sign is usually the happiest in a relationship, although being somewhat dominant.

 

Dragons also hate being told what to do.  As leaders, this person struggles with authority.  Interestingly, this person is often seen as a snob, someone who is easily influenced by money and power.  When questioned, the Dragon can become ferocious, even to the point of being dangerous, which is why this person should not be tempted.  Otherwise, you would expect to see a hotheaded individual explode.

 

Career Opportunities

 

The Dragon has so many great characteristics that he or she typically does quite well with any career.  Highly intelligent and hard working, the Dragon is devoted to career, especially if the career is something he/she believes in.  Regardless of the career field, you often see the Dragon being highly successful.  Considered gifted, intelligent, and willing to learn, this person would do well in the medical, political, or artistic arena.

 

Sign Compatibility

 

The people who get along best with the Dragon include the Rat, Tiger, Rabbit, Snake, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, and Pig.  The signs of the Chinese zodiac that have trouble dealing with the Dragon are the Ox, Dragon, Horse, and Dog.

 

Famous Dragons

 

You can see by celebrities that share the Dragon sign, this person is strong and highly intelligent.  Famous people who are also Dragons include Florence Nightingale, Sigmund Freud, Martin Luther King, Grace Kelly, and even Christopher Reeves.

The Chinese dragon is the ultimate and the most abiding symbol of good fortune and lies at the heart of Chinese mythology and is ubiquitous in Oriental art. Chinese dragons are regarded as divine mythical creatures that bring abundance, prosperity and good luck and its benevolence is known to augur goodness, greatness and plentiful blessings. They stand in contrast to the Western dragons which are usually associated with evil. 

The Chinese dragon is the epitome of power, courage, nobility and divinity with an all-enduring trait that it would overcome all obstacles till it achieves success. They are known to have terrestrial and celestial powers, which is why they are loved, worshipped and appeased. Their manifestations are used for the deeply profound to the simple things like children using dragon-shaped boats and kites. In sum, the dragon’s significance is its control over the destiny of mankind. 

It is considered to be made of nine entities – head of the camel, eyes of a demon, ears of a cow, horns of a stag, neck of a snake, belly of a clam, claws of an eagle, soles of a tiger and the 117 scales that cover its body being that of a carp. It is also considered highly versatile with the ability to change size and color and also take to the skies or the waters with equal dexterity. 

The Chinese dragon was the symbol of the Emperor and his Imperial Command and dragon shrines are still around in several parts of the Far East. Dragons are known to have mated with man and woman in ancient times. Japanese Emperor Hirohito traces his roots back 125 generations to Princess Faithful, daughter of the Sea Dragon.  

Many other rulers in the Far East have claimed dragon ancestry. And for them the highest compliment is to be dubbed “Dragon Face”. The rulers were so proud of their dragon ancestry that almost all of them had the word ‘dragon’ prefixed to their thrones, beds, boats, robes and rooms, among other things. Most royal families of the Orient believe that the dragon is wise. A popular legend has it that a 13th Century Cambodian king spent his nights in a golden tower where he conferred with a nine-headed dragon which was the real ruler of the land. 

The dragons are immensely popular among the Chinese, Japanese and the Koreans. Interestingly, the only way to differentiate one from the rest is to count the toes. The Chinese dragon has five toes, the Korean has four and the Japanese has three. Chinese legend describes them as wanderers – the farther they went from their land, the more number of toes they lost. The Japanese say exactly the opposite – the dragons grow more toes the farther they go from them. 

There are nine types of Chinese dragons. The Horned Dragon is considered the most powerful. It produces rain but is stone deaf. The Winged Dragon is the only one that flies. The Celestial Dragon is believed to protect the palaces of Gods. The Spiritual Dragon generates wind and rain. The Dragon of Hidden Treasures guards hidden treasures. The Coiling Dragon is also known as Water Dragon and lives in the lakes. The Yellow Dragon is the one that emerged from the waters to bestow the knowledge of writing. The Dragon King is a group of four dragons that rules the four seas in the North, East, South and West. There is also the Homeless Dragon that lives in the oceans or in the marshes and mountains. 

Though the Chinese Dragon is attributed to anything that is good, it is also termed “vain”. This is because when they are insulted or not duly honored by the rulers, they thrash around and exhale heavy air, causing droughts, floods or storms. The dragons also demonstrate disaffection of smaller magnitude that trigger minor problems like causing roofs to leak or rice to remain uncooked.

The most awesome rendition of the Chinese Dragon is on the Nine Dragon Wall in Beijing, built in 1756. The 21-metre long and 15-metre high wall is packed with 424 ceramic tiles made of seven colors. At its center is a giant dragon with four more positioned around. Nine huge dragons with others of various sizes fill the rest of the space. There are 635 dragons in all and this is among Beijing’s most famous tourist attractions. 

In Chinese astrology, the Year of the Dragon is considered the luckiest and those born in that year are destined to have a long, healthy and wealthy life. 2000-01 was the last Year of the Dragon and will return in 2012-13, in keeping with its 12-year cycle.


The Dragon Dance is one of the most colorful events associated with Chinese New Years.  Participating dancers hold up the dragon "costume" on poles and perform intricate maneuvers, while lights flash and pyrotechnic devices go off.  The effect of this dance is spectacular, as the serpentine dragon whirls and twirls its way around the crowd.  The tradition of the Dragon Dance goes back centuries, and has deep connections with Chinese culture and mythology. 

The origins of the Dragon Dance stretch back to when peasants in rural China would use it as an appeal to the dragon spirit.  It was believed that performing the dance could halt the spread of epidemics, as the dragon spirit would help to cleanse the air and water.  The dragon spirit is highly revered in China for their wisdom, intelligence, and courage.  In fact, children born in the Year of the Dragon (which comes every 12 years and most recently in 2000) are considered to be very lucky.  From its origins as a healing dance, the Dragon Dance went on to become a popular folk activity.  When westerners first encountered the Dragon Dance around 1000 A.D., it was already a part of festivals and celebrations. 

The size of the dragon used in the Dragon Dance varies greatly based on the skill of the performers and their resources.  Most dragons have between nine and 25 sections, each of which is about five or six feet long.  Some talented dragon dance teams have produced dragons with more than 40 sections, which results in the spectacular sight of a dragon more than 200 feet long!  The length of the dragon is supposed to bring good luck, and so communities work hard to produce the longest dragon possible.  Most dragons' robes are made of sequined, richly colored fabric that cover the dancers' bodies from the waist up, although a few dragons are made with dancers waving long colored fabrics on poles in undulating patterns. 

The dragon's head is usually equipped with a gaping mouth, which is sometimes able to open and close.  Since the Dragon Dance is most often performed at night, the mouth is often the source of flames, fireworks, or bright lights, while the body of the dragon will also be lighted or will have sequins that reflect light in the area.  One of the traditions of the Dragon Dance is grabbing money offered by spectators.  As the dragon moves through the crowd, it will try to catch money in its mouth.  If the spectator wants to offer a large denomination bill, they hold it high in order to challenge the dancers' skill and agility.  In some cases, money has been held from first story windows, and the dragon dancers have stood on each other’s shoulders to climb the wall.  Whether money is offered or not, though, the Dragon Dance is a spectacular sight and a must-see for anyone attending a Chinese celebration.


Unlike the westernized style of zodiac, the Chinese zodiac actually dates back to 2500 BC during the reign of Emperor Huang Ti.  This particular zodiac calendar provides an annual look into activity based on the moon’s cycles.  Beginning with a lunar year, which can begin anytime from late January to the middle of February, each calendar consists of five cycles, each being 12 years. 

For each of the 12 years, the Chinese zodiac includes animals, which has a very interesting legend.  It is believed that before Lord Buddha left the earth, he summoned all of the animals to come before him.  However, of all the animals, only 12 showed up to bid him farewell.  In honor of these 12, Lord Buddha named a year after them.  The belief is that the animal associated with each year rules over it.  Therefore, the lifestyle and personality of the person born under that animal sign is strongly influenced by that particular animal, being supported by the old Chinese saying, “This is the animal that hides in your heart.” 

During an excavation in 1955 of a tomb dating back to the Tang Dynasty, a set of zodiac figurines were found, each carefully made from pottery.  Interestingly, these figurines were created with the body of a human but the head of each of the 12 animals.  During the North Zhou Dynasty, which was from 557 to 581 AD, a very popular practice was to determine a person’s year of birth using the zodiac signs.  You would even find the coordinating zodiac on eating utensils and grave headstones. 

The 12 animals that showed up in front of Lord Buddha included the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig successively.  The story is that the cat spoke with his friend the rat.  They agreed that whichever one of them awoke in the morning first would be responsible for waking the other so they could go to Lord Buddha together.  Unfortunately, the rat broke his promise to the cat, arriving alone.  Shortly thereafter, the remaining 11 animals showed up and by the time that the cat awoke, the meeting had concluded.  The legend is that because of this, cats resent and kill rats.  To give you a better idea of how the Chinese zodiac works, consider the following: 

Rat (born in 1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020, 2032, 2044) – First animal in the cycle, considered aggressive, suspicious, ambitious, quick to anger, power hungry, hot-tempered, critical, as well as generous, honest, charming, imaginative, and generous.  It is common for people under the Rat zodiac to be publicists, writers, or critics.  The Rat coordinates well with the Monkey and Dragon, but the Horse should be avoided.

Year of the Rat Page

Ox (born in 1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021, 2033, 2045) – Powerful, unyielding, stubborn, but also born leaders, great parents, typically successful, upright, inspiring, conservative, and easy-going.  Typical careers would include a surgeon, military personnel, or hairdresser.  The Ox gets along with the Snake and Rooster but the Sheep should be avoided.

Year of the Ox Page

Tiger (born in 1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, 2022, 2034, and 2046) – Fighting animal, which is aggressive, unpredictable, emotional, yet charming, sensitive, courageous, and capable of giving immense love.  Somewhat of a risk taker, while also carefree.  Excellent positions include anything with supervision, an explorer, matador, or racecar driver.  Love tendencies are strong between the Horse and Dog but the Monkey should be left alone.

Year of the Tiger Page

Rabbit (born in 1915, 1927, 1939, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2003, 2036, and 2047) – Affectionate, talented, pleasant, value security, enjoy tranquility, sometimes too sentimental and superficial, cautious, and generally successful in business.  The rabbit would make an excellent actor, lawyer, or diplomat.  The best life partners would include the Sheep or Pig but not Roosters.

Year of the Rabbit Page

Dragon (born in 1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012, 2024, 2036, and 2048) – The Dragon is highly intelligent, gifted, unfaithful, loud, garish, popular, successful, enthusiastic, although also stubborn.  Typically, the Dragon would be a priest, politician, artist, or some type of leader.  Very compatible with the Snake or Rooster but the Sheep should be avoided.

Year of the Dragon Page

Snake (born in 1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013, 2015, 2037, and 2049) – People under this sign are clever, determined, passionate, intense, romantic, charming, and wise, but also tend to be vain and guided strongly by intuition.  The Snake will win money but should avoid being stingy.  The best jobs for this sign would be a writer, philosopher, teacher, fortuneteller, or psychiatrist.  The snake coordinates will with the Ox and Rooster, but not the Pig.

Year of the Snake Page

Horse (born in 1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014, 2026, 2038, and 2050) – The Horse is friendly, intelligent, popular, cheerful, but also has an impatient, cunning, and selfish streak.  This person is typically a scientist, politician, poet, or adventurer.  The Horse goes well with the Dog and Tiger but not necessarily the Rat.

Year of the Horse Page

Sheep (born in 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015, 2027, 2039, and 2051) – Sheep are creative, passionate, artistic, elegant, honest, and warmhearted, but also timid, disorganized, pessimistic, and vulnerable.  The best career for the Sheep would be an actor, beachcomber, or gardener.  The Sheep is very compatible with the Rabbit and Pig and the Ox should be avoided.

Year of the Sheep Page

Monkey (born in 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016, 2028, 2040, and 2052) – Very intelligent, clever, inventive, and entertaining, the Monkey can also be discouraged easily and live dangerously.  Often distrustful of other people, they will guard against many situations.  The great thing about being a Monkey is that they will succeed in anything they want to do.  The best compatibility comes with the Dragon or Rat, not the Tiger.

Year of the Monkey Page

Rooster (born in 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017, 2029, 2041, and 2053) – The Rooster is hardworking, courageous, eager for more knowledge, strong decision-makers, very skilled, and great with details.  However, the Rooster is also arrogant, shrewd, eccentric, and sometimes, reckless.  The perfect career for a Rooster would be a restaurant owner, military personnel, publicist, or world traveler.  This sign gets along best with the Snake and Ox but the Rabbit should be far away.

Year of the Rooster / Cock Page

Dog (born in 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018, 2030, 2042, and 2054) – People born under the Dog are honest, quiet, generous, intelligent, and very loyal while also being a bit stubborn.  They tend to worry about everything, have a sharp tongue, and like to place fault on others.  However, people under this sign are also very successful, making them great candidates for business, teaching, or working as a secret agent.  Tigers and Horses are the best match while the Dragon should be handled with caution.

Year of the Dog Page

Pig – (born in 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019, 2020, 2031, and 2043) – Very honest, sincere, tolerant, kind, and affectionate, the Pig is also short tempered and impulsive.  Since people under this sign are eager for knowledge, they tend to be successful, especially when it comes to finances, entertainment, or the legal field.  The best match would be the Sheep and Rabbit but Pigs and Pigs do not do well together.

Year of the Pig Page


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