Welcome to 2012 -The Year of the Dragon

Just about, as I was still struggling with the last year’s resolutions and Lo! Another new year comes waddling by! Waddling? Did I just think it aloud? Guess it’s proof enuff that I waddled past my life this last year. Don’t seem to remember all the stuff I waddled by/through….but a few things coming to the mind,

I started my blog last year – the year of the Rabbit. Quite a nice year I have spent of my life in Shenzhen, China. Settling here, making new friends, working with expat artists, kick start my new career, getting a cookbook published, planning newer smarter things. Although my blog missed me many days, or weeks at a stretch, my work suffered hurt & embarrassment – for coworkers dropping out, dips & highs in expat life, kid, school, healthy, family, hiccupping through my deadlines. No wonder I feel I waddled through! Phew, and here we are, another beautiful winter and the CNY blast of colour & fun in the city.

According to the Chinese Zodiac, the Year of 2012 is the Year of the Dragon, which begins on January 23, 2012 and ends on February 9, 2013. Dragons are one of the favored signs of the Chinese Zodiac, which is made up of twelve animals; each animal is associated with a particular year. In addition, one of the five elements-metal, water, wood, fire and earth, are affiliated with a year. 2012 will be a water Dragon year. The Dragon is a creature of myth and legend.  In ancient China, the celestial Dragon represents an emperor and power. Today, it is the ultimate auspicious symbol signifying success and happiness.

The Dragon is a beautiful creature, colorful and flamboyant.  An extrovert bundle of energy, gifted and irrepressible. Everything Dragons do is on a grand scale – big ideas and extreme ambitions!  Because they are confident, fearless in the face of challenge, they are almost inevitably successful.

Because of all above, the maternity ward of all Chinese hospitals have a long unending waiting list. It seems many mothers will have to give birth to their Dragon child  in the expecting hospital corridors.

Long ago, the Jade emperor decided to hold a race to determine which animals should represent the 12 years of the Chinese lunar calendar. The race would go through woods and plains, including the crossing of a swift river. The cat and the rat who were good friends, realized that they were the poorest swimmers. However, they were very intelligent, and they decided the easiest way across the river was on the back of the ox. The ox being a mild-mannered creature, allowed the cat and the rat to ride on his back. In the middle of the river the clever rat pushed his friend the cat into the water, and then sprang to the shore before the ox, thereby guaranteeing the rat’s place as the first animal of the zodiac. The strong ox came next, followed closely by the powerful tiger. The nimble rabbit appeared, explaining that he had hopped across the river from stone to stone until he almost fell in, but was saved by jumping onto a log that drifted to shore. He became the fourth animal. The fierce dragon swooped in from above, breathing fire. The Emperor asked why he hadn’t come in first; the dragon replied that he had stopped to help people by making it rain, and then had seen a poor rabbit on a log in the river and had paused to blow the log to shore. The emperor was pleased by the dragon’s actions and made him the fifth animal. Just then the horse came galloping up only to rear back in fright as the sneaky snake who had curled himself around the horse’s front hoof shot ahead to be the sixth animal, leaving the horse to be the seventh. Then the ram, monkey and rooster appeared on a raft. The rooster had spotted the raft and led the other to it, and the ram and the monkey had cleared reeds and pushed and pulled the raft across the river. The Emperor awarded their teamwork by making the ram the eighth, the monkey the ninth and the rooster the tenth animals in the zodiac. Awhile later the vain dog came panting up, explaining that he had to stop and take a bath in the river after the long race. As the sun began to set, the lazy pig finally grunted into view. He had gotten hungry during the race and stopped to eat and take a nap. The poor bedraggled cat arrived too late to be included and has hated rats and water ever since.

The characteristics of the animals are reflected in the personality of those born in that year. Recent Dragon years 02/19/1904 to 02/03/1905 (Wood), 02/03/1916 to 01/22/1917 (Fire), 01/23/1928 to 02/09/1929 (Earth), 02/08/1940 to 01/26/1941 (Metal), 01/27/1952 to 02/13/1953 (Water), 02/13/1964 to 02/01/1965 (Wood), 01/31/1976 to 02/17/1977 (Fire), 02/17/1988 to 02/05/1989 (Earth), 02/05/2000 to 01/23/2001 (Metal), 01/23/2012 to 02/09/2013 (Water).


Together with my design partner Veerle,  I made a tabletop-calendar for 2012. Veerle is a lovely artist, you can check more of her art  http ://www . hildebrandt . be/cards . htm

A project to help out our expat friends enjoy a calendar with English dates, and have fun reading about chinese zodiacs.

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