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Enter The Dragon Year 2012
During ancient days, Dragons are being portrayed as the magnificent and mystical legendary creature. As this Dragon’s year under the Chinese astrology, in this context will only be referring to the Chinese Dragon. For year 2012, the first day of Chinese New Year is on the 23rd January. This date is determined by the lunisolar Chinese calendar, as such, every year the date is different. Under the Chinese astrology, there are five elements which are fire, water, earth, wood and metal. This year, it is the year of the water Dragon.
Dragon under the Chinese astrology
Under the Chinese astrology, there are 12 animals which begins with the rat and ends with the pig, the sequence follow as such:
Did you know that there was a story about how these 12 animals were chosen?
Long time ago, the Jade Emperor wanted to choose some animals to represent the years from the animal kingdom. Jade Emperor said that only 12 animals will be chosen through a race to the meeting point, the finalists will have their kind to represent each and every year for 12 years. He sought the Elephant to be the judge as the elephant was known to be fair and wise, as such, elephants were not in the zodiac years. For the purpose of focusing on the Dragon, I will only write about the race part in regards to the Dragon.
The race began and the Dragon came in 5th, this came as a surprise to the Jade Emperor as the Dragon could have flown across the river in matter of seconds, but the Dragon explained that he was at another place helping to create rain for the drought victims. The rabbit witnessed the Dragon’s good deed as the Dragon drop a floating log for the rabbit that was about to drown. The rabbit held to the log and made it safely to shore, this was how the rabbit came in 4th.
Dragons may be known to be the mightiest of all animals, but they have strong passion in whatever they do. They are known to give help but rarely asking for it.
The Chinese New Year tradition
22nd January is the Chinese New Year’s Eve, most people are back at their hometown for the family reunion dinner. 23rd January which is the first day of Chinese New Year, is marked as one of the most important celebration to the Chinese people, this celebration will last for 15 days. During the first day, me and my relatives will gather at my late grandmother’s house to have our vegetarian brunch. After the brunch, we will start our journey of visiting other relatives in our new clothes. It is a tradition to bring mandarin oranges while visiting, they symbolise abundance and good fortune. During the visit, it is always fun for a child as they will receive red packet.
Red packets are also known as “ang pow”. These are distributed by married couples to unmarried juniors during the Chinese New Year’s celebration and inside the red packets contain money, in which the amount varies.
2012 Astro Chinese New Year Dragon Remix
Chinese New Year in Malaysia
Throughout the Chinese New Year period, below are some of the interesting things that you may be able to experience in Malaysia and other countries with significant Chinese population.
Chinese New Year Decoration
Beautiful Chinese New Year decorations in huge shopping malls, I would specifically recommend that you checkout the decoration at the Pavilion shopping mall if you are in Malaysia during this time of the year. It has never failed to impress, this year is no exception.
A firecracker also known as the ‘noise maker’ is made from small explosive device to create large amount of noise. It is now banned in Malaysia and many other countries as it has led to many injuries. However, there are still some occasions of people lighting the firecracker and I did hear it from a few places.
Chinese New Year snacks
There will be lots of Chinese New Year snacks sold. The popular snacks include the pineapple tarts, love letters (also known as kuih kapit in Malay), tapioca biscuit (also know as kuih bangkit in Malay), bee hives, crispy arrow heads, prawn rolls, peanut cookies, soya chips and dried meat called bakkwa (originated from Hokkien Chinese dialect).
Chinese New Year songs
You will be able to hear Chinese New Year songs played before and during the Chinese New Year. These songs are played in shops, on the radio and television. They have a very happy tune to it.
2012 Lion dance at 1 Utama shopping mall in Malaysia
Lion dance is a form of Chinese traditional dance, in which there will be 2 person under a lion costume imitating a lion’s movement.
Dragon dance and Tiger Shuffle
Similar to the lion dance, Dragon dance is also a form of Chinese traditional dance, but unlike the lion dance, the Dragon dance need many people to operate which is probably why you might see less of the Dragon dance. You might be able to see more Dragon dance this year since it is the year of the Dragon. It has been a great year for me so far, I got to see my first colourful dragon dance in Pavilion, the shopping mall mentioned above. There is actually a guy whom carries a ball on a stick and the dragon will follow the movement of the ball. The ball represents the "Pearl of Wisdom", it is perceived that the dragon is chasing the pearl to pursue knowledge.
2012 Chinese new year decoration, dragon and lion dance at Pavilion shopping mall in Malaysia
In Malaysia, although the Chinese New Year is a big celebration, bigger shopping malls and shops will still be open as it is mainly operated by other races. But in Chinese countries like Hong Kong, all shops will normally be closed at least for the first 2 days of this celebration.