Dragon Babies

On my recent trip to Vietnam ( July 2012) I happened to comment to a pregnant Vietnamese lady in Hoi An that I had seen a great many expectant Mum’s around. “Of course”, she replied – “it is Dragon year,and great luck for the family to have a son born in Dragon year!”. I’m still wondering whether girl dragons will be greeted with equal delight?

Switching on the English language news in my hotel room that night, I found myself listening to a report on how Chinese parents are desperately seeking a maternity hospital bed this year – with hundreds of thousands of baby dragons expected, it’s all about who you know and how much you can pay.

Upon research I discovered that not only is 2012 a Dragon Year, it is also a Male (or Yang) Black Water Dragon year and therefore especially auspicious. The more poetic name for this year is Rain Dragon, and in Feng Shui the element Water is associated with wealth and monetary gain – always a plus

Unlike Western mythology which portrays dragons as ferocious monsters to be slaughtered by knights, the Chinese believe that the Dragon is powerful and all-knowing – in Imperial China, the dragon was the symbol of the Emperor, so when a person is a dragon, it implies he is a king, and will stand out from the crowd (of other Dragons?)

All parents hope for the best possible life for their child, and in Asian countries, many will consult an astrologer to help them select the most auspicious birthdate – possibly even more so these days in China with the one child policy still prevailing. The only mythological beast in the Chinese zodiac, the Dragon represents happiness, immortality, activity and fertility, and this years Dragons should be even more charismatic than usual – any baby is a joy and a blessing, but a Dragon means double happiness – especially a male one.

Water Dragons come along once every sixty years – the last batch were born in 1952. Their main characteristics include ambition and dominance, they prefer to live by their own rules, are willing to take risks and face challenges, and deep down prefer to be alone.. which could prove a challenge with so many of them arriving this year.

The fascinating part of all this for me was the apparent contradiction between the expensively educated “Westernised” face of this lovely Vietnamese woman, and the deep faith she maintained in the ancient and complicated balancing act that is traditional astrology… and that she is clearly not alone. That said, we all love a good horoscope, don’t we?

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