The Year of the Dragon is one of, if not the most revered years of the Chinese New Year calendar.
Unlike the fire-breathing foe slayed in Western tradition, in Chinese culture the Dragon is a symbol of intense power and good fortune. Certainly if you were born under this year, your attributes are said to include 'innovative, passionate, colourful, confident and fearless!'
Hard workers who would rather lead than follow, Dragons certainly enjoy the limelight, which is fortunate for John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Al Pacino, Marlene Dietrich and Matt Dillon, who were all born under the Dragon.
Are you a Dragon?
Well, you are if you were born in 1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988 or 2000. In fact, this year is the year of the Water Dragon. Whether you are a sceptic or a believer, the general consensus emerging from the many forecasts being offered is that 2012 is going to be a transitional year for Dragons. The Chinese consider the Year of the Dragon to be a good time for people to get married or have children. This may be the time to start a business venture, as the year tends to bring good fortune and happiness. Business should go well and people will make money more easily (we'd certainly all like to believe there is truth in THAT part!)
Venture out in Croydon any evening this week and you are sure to find celebrations taking place in our local Chinese eateries. However, if you want to experience the height of the festivities head into the City this weekend when on January 29th, the official opening ceremony takes place in Trafalgar Square at noon, and is followed by music and dance performances, Chinese dragons, lions and acrobatics. The streets of Chinatown will be bursting with food stalls and cultural displays and the afternoon culminates in a fireworks display just after 5.30pm.
So whether you go all out to share the celebrations, or simply order a take away - Kung Hay Fat Choy!