By KIM LOCCISANO
Times Leader Staff Writer
"This will be the Year of The Dragon," offered Hong Kong native and local businessman Martin Tse, who was himself born during a Year of The Dragon-a point of his heritage which he sees as being of great importance to his successes, both personal and professional.
T-L Photo/KIM LOCCISANO
The ancient Chinese viewed the image of the dragon in a very different light than did those who shared tales of destructive deeds attributed to evil natured dragons of European mythology. The Year of the Dragon begins Monday, January 23, 2012.
T-L Photo/KIM LOCCISANO
The annual celebration marking the arrival of the Lunar New Year, often called the Chinese New Year, will this year be the Year of the Dragon. Martin Tse, a native of Hong Kong and long time area resident and businessman, was born in a Year of the Dragon. He and his wife, Pom Tse, are seen with a collection of items—many brought recently from Hong Kong for the celebration of the upcoming New Year—in the lobby of their popular local restaurant, Golden Chopsticks.
In the Chinese Zodiac, the dragon is seen as the most powerful of the 12 animals included as symbols of its different segments. This year the specific type of dragon influence being celebrated is the Water Dragon, offered Tse. It is this dragon which has the greatest influence on him, according to the traditions tied to a person's actual birth year, according to details of the ancient design's structure.
A person born in a Year of the Dragon is likely to experience a good deal of luck as they make their way through life, though it will not be without its challenges, say Zodiac experts.
And while they may be blessed with greater luck than seems to impact others, their accomplishments will have been achieved through hard work invested while keeping a tenacious focus on achieving a chosen goal.
Someone born in a Year of the Dragon can be demanding of others, but will always be demanding of themselves.
Those born under the sign of the Dragon will often be seen as particularly dynamic, wise and are easily looked to by others for advice and guidance. They are the kind of person viewed with respect by others, recognized for their intelligence and known for their generous spirit.
Being familiar with details and traditions of his ancestral heritage, Tse readily acknowledges its influence surfaces in many aspects of day-to-day life and plays an important part in how he approaches making and following through on decisions of all types that can come up in daily life.
This year, the Year of the Dragon 2012, is viewed as a time when truly exceptional influences and events are transpiring during a very short span of time-some being fact based and others considered mythical in origin.
"Thanks to a leap year aspect of one month, the Year of the Dragon spans a greater number of days than it would traditionally, meaning it actually will encompass two spring seasons, not one as is normally the case," shared Tse.
"This can be seen as giving people twice the opportunities to have the luck of this year available to them for important events like weddings and having children," Tse shared. "There are more people born under the sign of the Dragon than under any other of the Chinese Zodiac signs."
The year 4709, as it is identified in the ancient continuous calendar, will see two substantial celestial events: eclipses. The first will occur on May 20, 2012 and the other on November 13, 2012. They were pinpointed by the ancients who composed the calendar. Their legends even offer a viable explanation of what will be witnessed by mankind.
"Even these events are described by ancient legends about the playful nature of the Eastern or Chinese Dragon," said Tse. Traditional legends describe Chinese dragons as being of a much more whimsical and playful nature than were those of European myth.
"Eastern dragons were said to be more benevolent, nurturing and protective of man. They were not shown as evil, dangerous or destructive," he offered. "They were not depicted as violent or evil."
"Chinese dragons are said to glide through the skies on clouds where they move all through the skies simply chasing big, beautiful pearls found there," he said. "This is what dancers taking part in the colorful and dramatic Dragon Dances are portraying when they participate in festivals-especially at new years.
"In some of the large parades, there can easily be as many as 40 to 60 people dancing as part of the group bringing one dragon image to life for a single festival. It takes a great deal of work from everyone participating as a part of the dragon," reflected Tse.
But there is one very special part of any Dragon Dance at any spring festival, he explained.
A designated person at a festival shoulders the duty of connecting with the dragon's head-bringing the light of life to its eyes with a quick painting movement, allowing the colorful creature to become animated.
"This serves to wake up the sleeping dragon of legend," said Tse. "The dance is a symbolic reflection of a dragon chasing its beloved pearl through the heavens, though it is always just a bit beyond its reach.
It will be a very special time for everyone. It will be a time of challenges, some good and some challenging, according to those who study these things."
Virtually everything about being associated with this part of the Chinese Zodiac manifests in a positive. The Chinese Dragon is often seen as a symbol of divine protection and vigilance; as the Supreme Being of all creatures; has the ability to live in the seas, fly up the heavens and coil up in the land in the form of mountains; and can ward off wandering evil spirits, protect the innocent and assure safety.
Ancient traditions hold there are nine major types of Chinese dragons: horned; winged; celestial, which supports and protects the mansions of the gods; spiritual, which generates wind and rain for the benefit of mankind; the dragon of hidden treasures which guards concealed wealth; the coiling dragon, which lives in water; and the yellow dragon, which once emerged from water and presented the legendary Emperor Fu Shi with the elements of writing. The last of the nine is the dragon king, which actually consists of four separate dragons. Each rules one of the four seas.
The dawning of the Year of the Dragon on Monday, Jan. 23, 2012 signals the start of a period of rare significance for those who honor the cultural traditions associated with the Lunar Calendar or what is often simply called the Chinese New Year.
Its arrival is especially early, allowing the Year of the Dragon to actually span two spring seasons. It also happens to encompass a number of significant events such as the outcomes of the Presidential and Congressional elections, the upcoming Olympics, and two significant eclipses, near-earth object events, increasingly extreme weather, and the fragile state of the world's financial health.
"Those who look at all these details have said this year will be unlike any other in recent history when it comes to the importance of the world's great powers, such as China and the U.S., finding ways to work in support of each other. It will not be a time to celebrate another's misfortunes or losses," he offered, referring to an ancient poem which serves to remind mankind of the dangers that can come of enjoying another's pain or misfortunes.
Those born in a Year of the Dragon will be particularly adept when it comes time to be competitive and even appropriately aggressive, especially when times of sudden change occur and demand quick action or the making of difficult decisions, say experts.
"The first part of the year will offer prosperity, but it will be important not to overextend resources. Just like it happens with the many sudden movements of the body in a dragon dance, you can maintain a sense of balance and stay out of danger more successfully if you remember a dangerous shift is likely coming soon," explained Tse, with respect for the message experts are sharing of coming days and the challenges they will undoubtedly present.
"This will not be a time when it is good to sit back and wait for good things to happen. It is a time to be vigilant, to be prepared and to challenge yourself throughout the entire year if you want to be prepared to successfully meet the hidden dangers and sudden shifts that will come in daily life-just as in the Dragon Dance."