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The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

Lunar New Year Welcomes the Dragon

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Art done by Sable Smith

2024 is the year of the Dragon, and every year on the second new moon after the winter solstice, Lunar New Year, also known as the Spring festival, is celebrated in China and places with Chinese culture. 

3,500 years ago during the reign of the Shang Dynasty, Lunar New Year marked the official beginning of the new year in China, according to Wake Forest University. However, this measurement of passing time  was replaced by the Gregorian calendar — the “standard” calendar — that is used by the U.S. and most of the Western world. Yet, Lunar New Year remains a cultural tradition and the most important festival in China today. 

At the Lunar New Year festival, which is Feb. 10 this year, a celebration of the changing of the zodiac sign also occurs. This year will mark the shift of the Rabbit of 2023 to the Dragon of 2024. According to Oprah Daily the Lunar calendar is made of 12 year cycles each represented by a different animal. It is said to influence the personality of children born in that year as well as affect the outcome of individuals depending on their zodiac. 

In Chinese culture, the beginning of the zodiac is brought on by a race. According to Stoke-on-Trent Museums, the Jade Emperor, an immortal who ruled the world from heaven, wanted to give humanity a way to measure years. He wanted each year to be represented and guarded by a different animal. To decide the order and rank of each animal he decided to hold a race, which ended with a crossing of a great, wide river. 

The Rat got first place by jumping onto the back of the Ox, who waded through the river without any trouble. Once they got to the Emperor’s shore, the Rat jumped off and dashed to the Emperors’ feet, leaving the Ox in second place. The Tiger was powerful, but was not as strong of a swimmer as the Ox, so he ended third. The Rabbit used stones to hop across the river, securing herself comfortably in fourth place. The Dragon could fly over the river and win with ease, however, he was held back when having to help bring rain to a village in the midst of a severe drought. Dragon eventually came in fifth, with the Horse and the Snake, who hid in the Horse’s hoof, next. When the Snake slithered to the Emperor claiming sixth place, it startled the Horse enough that he came to a complete stop, leaving him in seventh. 

The Goat, Monkey and Rooster all worked together to cross the river— the Goat chewed through the vines blocking their path, the Monkey rowed the raft and the Rooster found the way to the shore, landing them in eighth, ninth and tenth, respectively. The Dog was a strong swimmer, but was distracted by having fun while swimming, resulting in him making second-to-last place. The Pig was fashionably late spending all day snacking and napping and only meandering his way over in the evening, coming in dead last.

While all of the zodiacs are integral to Chinese culture and Lunar New Year, the Dragon is the only mythical creature in the group, and is therefore associated with being the strongest, luckiest and most important zodiac. According to the Chineasy Blog, “Dragons in Chinese culture symbolize great power, good luck and strength. They represent power and authority, Emperors were assumed to have descended from the dragons. That is why, out of the twelve zodiac signs, the Dragon is the most popular one,” and that baby booms in East Asian countries have historically occurred in years of the dragon due to the positive traits they represent. 

Listed below are the predictions of how people’s zodiacs will affect their luck in 2024, the year of the Dragon, according to the South China Morning Post. The characteristics and years of the zodiacs listed are all according to the Creative Arts Guild

The Rat, quick-witted and resourceful

(1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020) 

Rats were stalled by forces out of their hands in 2023. However, in 2024 they can expect to see financial and personal growth. They must be careful of using their time wisely as well as contemplate before making decisions. 

The Ox, strong and dependable

(1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021)

For Oxes, 2024 will be full of stable progress, specifically in their career. They can also expect to meet powerful people that will open up new opportunities for them. They must remain patient and rely on their cognitive abilities.  

The Tiger, brave and confident

(1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, 2022)

Tigers must prepare themselves, as 2024 will be rough on them. They will be plagued with endless novel challenges. In order to avoid weariness they must pace themselves and stay resilient. Traveling is their recommended way to de-stress. 

The Rabbit, elegant and kind

(1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, 2023)

Rabbits must also prepare themselves, because 2024 will be unpredictable. They may face confusion or fatigue especially at the start of the year. In order to overcome this, they must stay determined and continue on their chosen path.

The Dragon, self-assured and intelligent

(1927, 1940, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, 2023)

2024 is their year, and Dragons will find themselves being the center of attention in their personal endeavors. All eyes are on them, so they must make sure to overcome all obstacles while they’re in the spotlight. 

The Snake, mystifying and wise

(1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013, 2025)

Throughout 2024, Snakes will be surrounded by positive people who will support them in any of their troubles. They must keep an open mind and listen to their loved ones’ advice, as they will need to hear it. They must be careful to not take anything for granted either. 

The Horse, expressive and energetic

(1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014, 2026)

Horses need to keep a positive attitude in 2024 in order to be rewarded with good luck. They must make sure to finish everything they start because this year will be busy, thrilling and full of creativity. This also means they must be careful of any extra distractions. 

The Goat, calm and sympathetic

(1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015, 2027)

For Goats, 2023 was challenging, but because of their good will, they will receive steady advancement in their goals. This will be sped up by help from people they respect, but they cannot be too hard headed with them or complacent with their progress. 

The Monkey, clever and curious

(1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016, 2028)

Monkeys will struggle with high expectations for themselves, but 2024 will also be full of completed goals they’ve been working towards. They must stay focused on progress and be cautious of who they trust.

The Rooster, hard-working and courageous

(1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017, 2029)

2023 was difficult for Roosters, but that will motivate them to get back on track with their goals, and these struggles will reach their resolution. They must stay wary of others’ opinions and views on them as well. 

The Dog, loyal and honest

(1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018, 2030)

2024 will be a busy year, and Dogs will try their best to do everything at once. This will lead to them worn out, and daily tasks that were once easy will become overwhelmingly difficult. They must go to friends for support and be cautious of impulsive decisions. 

The Pig, compassionate and generous

(1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019, 2031)

Pigs’ luck has been running dry for the past several years, but that will be changing in 2024. Prosperity and stability will be brought to them thanks to success in many of their ventures. The only thing they have to worry about is their physical health. 

The year of the Dragon will be either incredibly busy or prosperous, depending on the individual. Either way, 2024 will be a roller coaster full of change and excitement, for better or for worse. Yong Chen is a  UC Irvine associate professor of Asian American studies and History. In an interview with the University of California, he says “Lunar New Year is likely to become a major festive event in the United States. It already is an important holiday among some Asian American groups, such as the Vietnamese and Chinese.” We continue to see the rise in relevance of Lunar New Year and its cultural impact here in the United States through Chinese Americans’ influence on the country as a whole.  

What is your Lunar New Year zodiac? Let us know in the comments below. 

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About the Contributor
Sable Smith, Staff Artist
Junior Sable Smith is a new staff artist for Southpaw and Bearing news. They are also a member of art club. They pass the time by drawing, using their huge collection of coloring books, watching random video essays and listening to true crime podcasts.

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