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Dragon Dance

The next Lunar New Year starts on February 10, as we say goodbye to the kind and thoughtful Rabbit and hello to the noble and powerful Dragon, or more precisely, the Wood Dragon. The Dragon is the fifth animal of the Chinese zodiac and Wood is one of the five elements. The Dragon is the only mythical creature of the zodiac and considered the most auspices.

Dragon birth years (1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012, or 2024)

In Chinese astrology, the 12 zodiac animals are each affiliated with an element – metal, wood, water, fire, earth – as they move around the zodiac cycle, and when an animal reappears after 12 years its elemental affiliation will shift. Each combination of animal and element occurs only once every 60 years, and is the reason why, in many Asian cultures, a person's 60th birthday is considered such an auspicious occasion being thought of as an age of rebirth and renewal.

It is believed that people born under each elemental zodiac animal sign have a unique set of personality traits that influence their lives, similar to the concept behind the Western zodiac signs.

So what does the Wood Dragon mean?

Wood represents vitality and creativity, while the dragon is related to success, intelligence and honour in East Asian cultures.

This combination makes people born in the Year of the Wood Dragon full of energy and drive. They dream of changing the world and are good at coming up with innovative ideas and implementing them. They are perfectionists and will not give up on their goals easily.

The Year of the Wood Dragon is believed to be able to foster growth, progress and abundance, and this year will be good to build a solid foundation for something new with long-term potential, but it will also be a year of challenges and conflicts, emphasizing the need for respect, understanding, and peaceful resolutions. The last Year of the Wood Dragon was 60 years ago, in 1964.

The most pivotal year of the 1960s, arguably, is 1964. It was the year America grieved John F. Kennedy’s assassination; Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act; and when poverty, inequality, and war became part of our American lexicon. It marked the point when American culture began to fracture and eventually split along ideological lines — old vs. young; hip vs. square; poor vs. rich; liberal vs. conservative — establishing the poles of societal debate that are still raging today.

As we enter into the new year, we, too, find ourselves at a pivotal time in history. What does the Dragon master have in store for us?

(to be continued)

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