Welcome to the Year of the Dragon!

As today is the beginning of the Lunar New Year, all of us at the MIM want to wish all of our cyber-followers a happy and prosperous Year of the Dragon!

As a course in global leadership, Portland State MIM students have the opportunity to study not only Japanese or Chinese language, but we also have the opportunity to be immersed in East Asian culture in many ways.  To celebrate, both the Chinese and Japanese language learners will be singing traditional songs for our friends and families! Details below…

First, here is an overview of the importance of the dragon and the Year of the Dragon, courtesy of the PSU branch of the Confucius Institute:

The Dragon is magnificent. In China, the Dragon is the imperial symbol, the sign of the emperor and the male element of Yang. The Dragon is also synonymous with power and wealth.

The Dragon falls on the following years: 1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, and 2012.

It is said that people born in the year of the Dragon carry a natural charisma and are gifted with power and luck. They are egoistical and ambitious, almost to the point of megalomania, and will stop at nothing to get what they want. They can be successful as actors, singers, bankers, financiers, politicians, pharmacists and quite comfortable in the place of many other professions. Some famous people born in the year of the Dragon are Bruce Lee (1940), Florence Nightingale (1820), Paul Allen (1952), and Friedrich Nietzsche (1844).

Why is the Dragon the Fifth Animal in the chinese Zodiac?

Once upon a time, the Jade Emperor prepared to select twelve animals to be recognized as the zodiac (生肖shēngxiāo) signs. In accordance with the decree, the first twelve animals to arrive on the appointed day would be selected as the animals of the zodiac. The cat asked the mouse to help it sign up, but the mouse forgot and the cat wasn’t chosen. Ever since, the cat and mouse have been enemies. Other animals wanted to choose the ox for the first place. When the ox walked into the hall, the mouse rode upon his back and was seen first. So then, the mouse took the first place in the zodiac. The tiger and dragon didn’t accept the decision, but were granted as kings of the mountain and sea in retribution. Next, the rabbit didn’t accept the other positions and ran a race with the dragon to take the fourth spot. That’s how the dragon became the Fifth Animal in the Chinese Zodiac.

There are several events celebrating the Lunar New Year at PSU and in the Portland area. Two excellent opportunities to learn about Lunar New Year traditions are on Saturday January 28. First, the MIM cohort will celebrate with song, dance and refreshments from 2-5 PM at Smith Memorial Union, Rooms 327-329. Immediately following, the Chinese New Year Gala will take place at the Smith Memorial Union Ballroom, room 355. For more information, check out the CIPSU Events Calendar, or the MIM Facebook Page.


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Filed under China, Coursework, MIM GENERAL, Student Life

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