A German, a Latina, an American, an Aussie and two Chinese people walk into a bar...
No, not a joke, just what the hostess saw when we walked into Neild Avenue last week. The Neild Avenue (yes, it's Maurice Terzini's latest venture and was great for atmosphere and impossible to get a glass of free tap water in). Over tapas, we had the discussion about what Australian culture really looks like. As two of the six people at the table were Chinese and an overwhelming majority the conversation took a natural turn to the incumbent observance, superstition and tradition around Chinese New Year. It piqued my interest.
According to the Chinese Zodiac, the Year 2012 is the Year of the Water Dragon and begins on January 23, 2012 and ends on February 9, 2013. The Dragon is the fifth sign of the Chinese Zodiac which consists of 12 Animal signs. (I'm a Rooster, whatever that means...) The Dragon is a creature of myth and legend and according to Miss Dragon at my table, it is all about the Dragons this year - we should aim to hang out with as many of them as often as we can for good luck.
In ancient China, the celestial Dragon represents an emperor and power. Today, it is the ultimate auspicious symbol signifying success and happiness. The Dragon year has everyone talking, and its interesting to watch traditional business publications dig deep into the implications this year will have on the business market place. Can the future of the economy be left up to the Zodiac...it only matters if you consider the impact of the Chinese on the world's economy. If it is a year of prosperity for so many people, surely that has got to pass through to the rest of us, no? But, it is no ordinary fire breathing menace. Water in itself has a subtle but substantial power. This year will be full of quick changes like tides. Expect channels to swim and epic currents as the year of the Rabbit (2011) has given us the knowledge to move with agility. Stay nimble.
According to the Sung Dynasty (a Chinese imperial dynasty lasting from AD 960 - 1279) texts, the dragon is described as having the head of an ox, muzzle of a donkey, eyes of a shrimp, horns of a deer, body of a serpent covered with fish scales, and feet of a phoenix. The dragon usually clutches a pearl symbolic of its super-natural powers. (The pearl clutching says it all really, now doesn't it.) Invariably accompanied by thunder and rain, dragons move like lightning and whirlwinds - - all powerful yet totally unpredictable.
Frankly, that sounds about right. A year of change, unpredictable with drama and excitement. If you know what you didn't like about last year, set about to make this years results different. Dragons, after all, are lizards with a purpose.
Happy Chinese New Year!