The picture above shows three Chinese dragons made by coloured rice flour dough, hand made by a farmer, steamed to fix the shape.
Tomorrow, 6th of Feb , will be the last day of celebrating the Chinese new year. If you have paid some attention to this, you may say: “Wow, the new year’s day was two weeks ago, are you still celebrating it?” Yes, we are. The transitional Chinese New year starts on the 8th December and finishes on the 15th January of Chinese calendar, in some saying even the 2nd of February. Is it the longest new year in the world? Should be.
Well, people in the western countries do the similar things. Just like eating one sweet a day from your advent calendar, Chinese people set themselves doing one special thing a day since 8th of December. For example, on the first day, people in south china will cook a certain kind of sweet congee and share with the family and neighbours. In north China, people will make some pickled garlic cloves for new year eve’s dumplings.
On the 15th January (6th Feb 2012), family members will gather again to have dinner and eat the must food: rice balls. It is a rice pastry normally with a sweet filling like red beans, sesames or peanuts. I am planning to do some tomorrow as well, only if I am in mood. After the dinner, people will go out to join in the massive street party where there are full of lanterns. Traditionally this is the best chance for competing the designs and skills of making lanterns, or writing riddle poems on lanterns for everyone to have a guess. It has been weaken a lot now as not many people can make the lanterns or make a poem!
Anyway, there will be a lot of dragon lanterns in the streets tomorrow night because 2012 is a dragon year! If you are always puzzled about Chinese year and the animal, write this down in you note book. In particular order, here are the 12 years of animals in Chinese calendar: Rat, Bull, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Chicken, Dog and Pig.
All animals can be found in the real world apart from the dragon. Chinese people created its image and I mean, the Chinese dragon. So what’s the differences between the western dragons and Chinese dragons? I have dug out two cutie pictures for you.
Western dragons are normally in red colour , have wings and can spit fire. Most times they are scary and evil, not in Shrek though.
Chinese dragons are very colourful and no wings. I have looked up some history records, ancient Chinese once described them as this: deer horns, bull ears, tiger eyes, lion nose, donkey mouth, snake body, fish tail and eagle feet! Goodness gracious me! They can mean lucky or power (that’s why emperors like them), very different meanings, but not evil. And they have another function: spitting water! In ancient China if long time no rain, people would gather in temples and pray for dragons to bring them rain.
All the pictures above are from the web.