Year of the dragon brings promise of change
In myths and fairytales, dragons may breathe fire and hold fair princesses captive until they can be rescued by their handsome heroes.
But when the dragon of Chinese astrology arriving with the Lunar New Year today, the mythical creature will bring with it optimism and hope for better times ahead in 2012.
The dragon is the most auspicious and powerful of the 12 signs of the zodiac, one associated with high energy and prosperity.
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, Ontario, north of Toronto.
Among Ng’s long list of changes to come in the New Year, he sees a lot of political change coming – there are many elections set in countries from the United States to Russia.
In many Asian countries, officials are expecting a baby boom.
A poll in Hong Kong showed that 70 per cent of couples there wanted children born under the dragon sign, while South Korea, Vietnam and China all report similar enthusiasm about dragon-year childbearing.
According to Ng, those people born in dragon years (which include 1940, 1952, 1964, 1988 and 2000) are imaginative and full of energy.
Along with his predictions for political changes and increases in birth rates, Ng predicts a more positive outlook for the world economy.
With this year of the dragon coming after 2011's year of the rabbit, a symbol which Ng says usually represents instability, he sees the potential for an economic rebound similar to the pattern that emerged in 1987 (a bad — and rabbit — year), followed by a better (and dragon) year in 1988.
Given how the world economy has been getting along, that wouldn't be a bad thing.