Chinese New Year - Year of the Dragon

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Legend of the Dragon

A dragon is a legendary creature. For China, it is the symbol of power from heaven. It appears only on the yellow imperial robe. It represents the icon of emperor. Because of this, Dragon is one of most auspicious animals in China. 9 represents the sky and is connected to dragon. It is said that the Dragon has nine sons. Nine is also the highest number in digits in china.

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Legend of the Dragon
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A Dragon Story

They say that Dragon has nine sons. The Dragon sent its nine sons to help the first emperor of Ming Dynasty to conquer China. After completing the mission, nine dragons were preparing their journey to return to heaven. But the emperor wanted them to stay.The emperor decided to play a trick on the most powerful dragon, the 6th son. He tricked the sixth dragon son to carry a magic stele (rectangular stone or wooden tablet with inscription). The 6th dragon couldn't move under the magic stele, and all of his other brothers wouldn't leave without him. They decided to no longer show their dragon identities and turned themselves into creatures. Since then, the nine dragons have stayed in China.

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A Dragon Story
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Year of the Dragon

Gong Xi Fa Ca! That’s the traditional Chinese New Year greeting that means “wishing you prosperity” in Mandarin. It is the most important of Chinese holidays, celebrated by billions in China, and by millions of ethnic Chinese around the world. It’s a celebration that lasts for 15 days, culminating with the Lantern Festival. Each year is associated with one of twelve animals in the Chinese zodiac. For 2012, it’s the Year of the Dragon.

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Year of the Dragon
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Celebrating new year

There are several variations on the mythology behind Chinese New Year celebrations. Most are based on a ugly bloodthirsty monster named Nian that would emerge on the last night of each year to destroy villages and eat people.An old man persuaded Nian to turn its wrath on other monsters, not the villagers. Later the old man was seen riding away on Nian, the old man, actually a god, advised the people to hang red paper decorations in their homes and set off firecrackers on the last night of the year to keep Nian away. On the first day of the new year, the villagers celebrated, greeting each other with the words “Guo Nian” which means “survive the Nian”, a tradition that has continued to this day to mean “celebrate the new year.”

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Celebrating new year
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Chinese new year calculation

A month in the Chinese calendar spans a single lunar cycle. The first day of the month begins during the new moon, so a lunar month can last 29 or 30 days. In order to catch up with the solar calendar, which averages 365.25 days in a year, an extra month is added to the Chinese calendar every two or three years. As a result, Chinese New Year falls on different dates each year between January 21 and February 21. Each year of the Chinese lunar calendar is represented by one of twelve animal symbols of the Chinese zodiac: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Boar. For 2012, it’s the dragon’s turn. According to Chinese astrology, people born on the year of the dragon are said to be strong, self-assured, eccentric, intellectual, and passionate, among other things.

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Chinese new year calculation
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15 day Celebrations

Chinese New Year celebrations traditionally lasts 15 days, from the first day (during a new moon) to the 15th day (a full moon). Each day holds a special significance that varies according to local traditions. But first, before the arrival of the new year, homes are thoroughly cleaned to sweep away ill fortune, and to welcome good luck. On new year’s eve, there are family gatherings to celebrate and enjoy sumptuous traditional feasts, and to greet the new year with fireworks at midnight. In the days that follow, festive dance parades are held featuring colorful dragons or lions, ceremonies are held to pay homage to deities and ancestors, children receive money in red envelopes, gifts are exchanged, extended family members visit each other.

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15 day Celebrations
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Year 2012 is the 4709th Chinese year

The Year 2012 is the 4709th Chinese year. The Chinese believe that the first king of China was the Yellow King. The Yellow King became king in 2697 B.C., therefore China will enter the 4709th year on January 23, 2012. 2012 is the Water Dragon year, which is the 4709th Chinese Year. Because Water is connected to Black in the Five-Element system, Year 2012 is also called the Black Dragon year.

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Year 2012 is the 4709th Chinese year
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