Tag Archives: lunar year 2012
The use of animals to mark the 12 components of the Lunar New Year cycle originates from the Chinese Lunar Calendar, dating back more than 2,000 years. The 12 symbolic animals are Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Ram, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. Traditionally, each lunar year is named after an animal. This, coupled with the combination of ten heavenly stems and twelve earthly branches, forms the Jiazi (60 years) cycle.
Azerbaijan Post has issued a dragon stamps to mark the Chinese Lunar New Year to celebrate the upcoming year of the dragon. The year 2012 is the Year of the Dragon. In classical Western literature, the dragon is always regarded as a threatening evil creature that a young man must slay in order to become an adult, a knight or a hero.
In traditional Chinese culture, the Dragon is an auspicious, mythical creature incarnated as an emperor, representing supreme power and commanding great respect. It is believed that people born in the Year of the Dragon are confident, courageous and clever.
According to the Chinese zodiac calendar the New Year falls on January 23 when the Year of the Dragon begins. The dragon, the only animal of the Chinese zodiac year that is not real, is a creature of special significance for Chinese people. The dragon has been seen as a powerful almighty king because it was made up of different parts of animals such as tiger, fish, snake and eagle. In the Orient the dragon was not seen as a threatening evil being as in the West but rather a symbol of power, superiority and rule.
Macau post issued a set of stamps and a souvenir sheet featuring Dragon in five elements.
Water Dragon – The water dragon is a kind of Marine Dragon, which is a member of the popular dragons and along with the current dragons. The character of the water dragon is to drift with the tide and his career also goes agreeable.
Thinking of dragons may conjure up fire-breathing, serpent-like beasts of fantastic legends, but in many Asian cultures, these magical, mythical creatures are benevolent, associated with wisdom and longevity. They are revered for their influence over the primal forces of nature; for example, the Chinese water dragon has potent and auspicious powers over rainfall, hurricanes and floods.
The presence of the dragon in Chinese culture dates back thousands of years. Dinosaur bones unearthed in ancient China are documented as “dragon bones,” and dragon statues and jade badges of rank have been discovered as far back as the fifth millennium BC.
The 2012 Lunar New Year – Year of the Dragon stamp issue features the revered Dragon from Chinese legend. The Year of the Dragon is considered the luckiest and those born in that year are likely to be brave, tempestuous, powerful, wise and perfectionists.
The stamps show the development of the Chinese character for the Dragon, shown fully in the $1.80 stamp, and the way it is derived from its pictorial representation, shown in the 60c stamp.
There are a total of 12 animal signs in the Chinese calendar based on five cycles of 12 years each, with each cycle tempered by one of the five Chinese elements of Metal, Wood, Water, Fire and Earth. According to Chinese astrology and belief, the traits of these zodiac animals not only shape the personalities of people born under the respective sign but also their lives and the events of the year. Apart from the Dragon, the other Chinese zodiac animals are the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig.
Two dragons wound around a man Chinese horoscope is among the oldest in the world. It was created in China about 1000 BC and had its flourishing period owing to the development of astronomy and cosmology and popularity of Confucius’ teachings in the time of Han Dynasty. It is most popular in China and other countries of East Asia and – with the migrations of Asian inhabitants slowly makes its way also to Europe and USA. Its tradition reaches far in history and the legends about its origin vary.