THE Chinese Year of the Dragon starts on Monday – and not a moment too soon for the global economy.
The Year of the Dragon – the fifth of the 12-year Chinese zodiac cycle – is considered propitious for starting new business ventures, getting married and is generally considered good luck in Chinese mythology.
With China set to become the world’s largest economy in coming years, surpassing the US, and Australia’s economic fortune firmly tied to that of China, here’s hoping the new year brings the wealth and longevity associated with the dragon.
The signs are already good, with shipments of gold from Hong Kong to mainland China reportedly up by 20 per cent in November and about six times up on the previous year, as increasingly affluent Chinese families prepare to give each other gifts.
The dragon is the only mythical creature included in the Chinese horoscope and is associated with characteristics such as leadership, independence and impulsiveness.
Chinese New Year is the most important Chinese traditional holiday, and this year runs for 15 days from January 23. It marks the end of the winter season and is often referred to as the Lunar New Year.
Celebrations end on February 6 with the Lantern Festival.
Families traditionally gather for meals on Chinese New Year eve, and unmarried children are given red envelopes containing money by their parents and older relatives.
Chinese New Year is naturally celebrated in China, but is also celebrated in many other Asian nations which have a strong Chinese influence such as Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand.
In Adelaide, many Chinese organisations are holding banquets to celebrate the New Year, while Adelaide City Council is supporting an event next Saturday, January 28, in the city’s Chinatown.
This event, which will be held in Moonta St from noon until 5pm, will include 50 performances, 24 stalls, lion dances, dragon dances and “lots of fire crackers”.
The New Year is also being ushered in late tomorrow at the Zhu-Lin Temple at Ottoway, where dragon dancers will be performing at about 10.30pm, accompanied by firecrackers and other entertainment.
“Every year it gets more crowded. Thousands of people come to celebrate the New Year,” spokesman Charles Tran said.