On the 23rd January 2012 the Year of the Rabbit gave way to the Year of the Dragon which runs until February 9 2013. The Year of the Dragon is considered to be an exciting and exhilarating time. This is in contrast to the peace and calm of the preceding Rabbit year. Given the turmoil in the world ecomony one might be excused for thinking differently!
It is said that in the West the Dragon is seen as a vile beast to be slain and defeated. The Dragon was likened to the devil as it was seen to signify the worst moral aspects of humanity. However, this could not be further from the truth in Eastern societies. The Dragon is seen as the wise, strong, magical protector. He is seen as representing royalty and prosperity.
In a Dragon year, events can seem magnified and everything feels more intense. It is a time when we have the daring and energy to be bold and take risks. This could be an excellent time to take that step towards marriage, start a family or embark on that business venture. The only word of caution is not to get totally carried away with the enthusiasm and exhilaration of the Dragon year, as this could lead to you taking unnecessary risks. As long as you use the power and energy of this year to power your ambition, there is very little you cannot achieve.
The RED PACKET (Hong Bao)
Inside the envelope was a small card with the large character BLESSING (above) on it plus a braclet made by young people who are reside in homes for physically and mentally disadvantaged children in Mainland China.
The blossoming of the tree is a very important feature of the Chinese New Year celebrations in Hong Kong
While the Dragon is the symbol used by those celebrating this particular Lunar New Year in China and Hong Kong, it is not the symbol that is on the little Red Packets (hong bao) distributed at Thanksgiving Masses in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong! Instead the hong bao carries a special message related to home and family life.
On the left side the characters read: God’s love and happiness fill your home.
On the right side the characters read: Heavenly grace and blessing be spread to all the family.
Taking each two characters across they read:
LOVE and GRACE
HAPPINESS and BLESSING
FILL and SPREAD to
FAMILY and HOME
Chinese calligraphy scroll
The Dragon-Horse, spirited, lively and vigorous (龙马精神- lóng mǎ jīngshén)
And Lunar New Year’s Eve would not be right if one did not take a slow stroll in a very goodnatured but crowded Victoria Park!
See next page for some features of a traditional Flower Markets in Hong Kong