Monday, January 23, 2012


WELCOMED IN AROUND THE WORLD - Celebrations for the Year of the Dragon begin today and last for 15 days.  Millions of ethnic Chinese, Koreans and Vietnamese across Asia have rung in the New Year of the Dragon with fireworks, feasting and family reunions.  From Beijing to Bangkok and Seoul to Singapore, people hoping for good luck in the New Year visited temples and lit incense, setting off fireworks and watched street performances of lion and dragon dances. In London, Chinese New Year will officially be marked on January 29 with a parade and a performance in Trafalgar Square. Among the 100-strong performers will feature Shanghai Song and Dance Troupe and the National Music Orchestra of Jilin Province.  For many, the Lunar New Year is the biggest family reunion of the year for which people endured hours of cramped travel on trains and buses to get home.

In ancient times the dragon was a symbol reserved for the Chinese emperor, and it is considered to be the most auspicious and powerful of the 12 signs of the zodiac, one associated with high energy and prosperity. It’s also the only mythical creature in the Chinese astrological stable that includes horses, rats and pigs. This year is considered especially auspicious because it is the year of the water dragon, something that happens once every 60 years.  “The dragon is a symbol of power and superior control,” says Stephen Chu, president of the Mississauga Chinese Business Association, west of Toronto. “It’s not evil. The dragon is a good symbol.” It also represents change and mobility. “Dragons seem to be a change year, and usually from bad to good,” says Paul Ng, a feng shui master in Richmond Hill, Ont., north of Toronto.

Chinese New Year celebrations have begun throughout the world.  Colorful parades and spectacular fireworks usher in the Year of Dragon, which symbolizes courage and prosperity. According to the Chinese Zodiac, the Year of Dragon comes after the Year of Rabbit and is followed by the Year of Snake. In the Rig Veda, there is a description of the battle between Lord Indra, the king of heaven, and an asura named Vrtra who had taken the form of a mighty Dragon and stole all the water in the world for himself.

I will declare the manly deeds of Indra, the first that he achieved, the Thunder wielder. He slew the Dragon, then disclosed the waters, and cleft the channels of the mountain torrents. Like lowing kine in rapid flow descending the waters glided downward to the ocean.  Impetuous as a bull, he (Indra) chose the Soma and in three sacred beakers drank the juices. Maghavan (Indra) grasped the thunder for his weapon, and smote to death this firstborn of the dragons. ...  When Indra and the Dragon strove in battle, Maghavan gained the victory for ever. ... The waters bear off Vrtra's nameless body: the foe of Indra sank to during darkness.  Guarded by Ahi (Vrtra) ... the waters stayed like kine held by the robber.  But when he (Indra) had smitten Vrtra, opened the cave wherein the floods had been imprisoned.

“The Hymns of the Rigveda”
Book I - Hymn XXXII - “Indra”
Translated by Ralph T. H. Griffith
2nd edition, Kotagiri (Nilgiri) 1896

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