The Chinese Year of the Dragon will begin on the day of the Spring Festival, February 10, and last until the next Spring Festival on January 29 next year. The dragon is the fifth of the 12 animal signs that make up the 12-year cycle of the Chinese zodiac. It follows the rat, ox, tiger and rabbit and is followed by the snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. The dragon is the only mythical creature in the zodiac.
In traditional Chinese culture, the 12 zodiac animal signs embody different personality traits, and the dragon is revered as a symbol of imperial power, dignity, honor, strength and good fortune. Throughout history, emperors have adorned themselves with dragon motifs, associating it with authority and leadership. The Chinese dragon is typically portrayed as a serpentine creature with a scaly body, sharp claws, and a pair of horns on its head.
As exchange and mutual learning between Chinese and other civilizations increase, many Chinese have come to understand that dragons exist not only in their own culture, but also in many other cultures around the world. However, while they are often depicted as fire-breathing creatures bringing darkness and danger in other cultural traditions, they are always welcomed in Chinese culture.
Chinese mythology portrays them as benevolent beings, guardians of heavenly realms, and bringers of rain. The dragon is also believed to bless individuals born in its year with exceptional luck, intelligence and success. These cultural beliefs have fostered a deep respect and admiration for dragons, making the Year of the Dragon a highly anticipated and celebrated period.
Reverence and affection for dragons are alive and well in modern popular culture. Dragon-themed accessories, calligraphy and paintings are in high demand, not only because of the Year of the Dragon, but also because of the dragon's position as a totem for Chinese people, who refer to themselves as "descendants of the dragon."
The Chinese Year of the Dragon is a time for nurturing aspirations and cultivating resilience. May this auspicious year inspire us all to reach new heights, overcome challenges and embrace the dragon's spirit of prosperity and hope.