Year of the Snake

February 10, 2013
Snake / Water

Snake Years:
1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013

The Snake: The snake, the sixth symbol in the Chinese zodiac, is one of the most powerful creatures in Chinese mythology. A popular myth associated with this zodiac says that the shedding of the skin of this reptile denotes renewal and rebirth in life. Hence, if you come in contact with a person under the snake zodiac, it will help you to regain vitality and a new energy in life. The astrology principles followed by the Chinese state that it is very auspicious to have someone in the house with the snake zodiac sign. Snake is a good omen; it is symbolic of the fact that nobody will ever go without food anytime.

Personality: The snake exhibits an intelligent, materialistic and graceful personality. People who are born under this sign also analyze a situation well before making decisions; therefore impulsiveness is hardly seen in their characters. They also generally are convincing by nature, getting whatever they desire very easily! Most snakes would in reality go to any lengths to get things done the way they want! The snakes are materialistic by nature; this is why they like to be surrounded by luxurious objects.

Health: The mental health of people under the zodiac sign snake is expected to be affected in the year 2013 by normal incidents and occurrences. Snakes like to lead the life of a recluse; they prefer a quiet and calm atmosphere to the din that generally surrounds them. This year will not be too peaceful for a snake; the surrounding noise will lead to anxiety and tension. If the stress gets unbearable, taking a break from daily routine is suggested, else it may shorten the lifespan!

Career: A snake is very efficient in whatever work is entrusted or assigned. The hard work that they put in will be rewarding in the form of financial perks and recognition. However, the snake also lacks in concentration. This will lead to boredom with one type of job and quick switching over to another. An ideal snake is brimming with creative ideas that can be put to use professionally. Diligence ensures that they make the right decisions while investing in a business venture or striking a partnership deal.

Relationships: The snake is a seducer! He/she will charm his way into your heart and also love you truly. However, the Chinese zodiac describes the snake as treating their partners as some prized possessions. They have an obsessive and insecure side to their characters that comes forth in a relationship. This trait may in reality lead to misunderstandings and problems in the relationship.

Celebrities: Ann Margaret, Queen Elizabeth I, Audrey Hepburn, Oprah Winfrey, Jacqueline Kennedy Sarah Jessica Parker Grace Kelly, Linda McCartney, Liv Tyler

History of the Chinese Lion Dance

Chinese Lion dancing is part of the colorful pageantry and tradition of Chinese New Year which revolves around bringing good fortune for the new year and removing the bad luck of the old year. Noisy processions, filled with drumming, fireworks and cheering crowds, accompany the appearance of the Lion. Nothing in traditional Chinese entertainment exceeds the excitement of the Lion dance.

Lions came to this country via the famous Silk Road. Rulers in what is today Iran and Afghanistan sent Lions to Chinese emperors as gifts in order to get the right to trade with Silk Road merchants. The Lion dance dates back to the Han Dynasty (205 B.C. to 220 A.D in China) and during the Tang Dynasty (716-907 A.D.) it was at its peak. Lion dancing is an ancient ceremony that is a marriage of Chinese martial arts and folk lore. There is a complex, interwoven relationship of symbolism between the Lion dance, the coming new year and the martial arts. Before the new year arrives Chinese families and businesses make special preparations to end the old year and ensure an auspicious new year. When the Lion appears, families will hang out offerings of “lucky money,” or “chan,” in red “Lai-See” envelopes for the Lion to eat (Please no food or metal objects). By garnering the favor of the Lion, the Lion will chase away evil spirits and bad luck with the help of fire crackers.

There are basically two types of Lions: Northern and Southern. The Southern Lion is more colorful and larger. The multi-colored Lion is used more often during Chinese New Year celebrations because the vibrant colors symbolize good luck. Old, established schools are represented by “old” Lion heads, which have long white beards with a multicolored head and body. The construction of Southern Lion heads is of papier-maché and bamboo and is an art in itself to make. The main difference between Lion dance and Dragon dance is that the latter is performed with more than two people.

The Lion dancers convey the Lion’s various emotions and are in part elicited by the “Happy Man” or “Buddha,” a costumed teaser with a fan or giant ball who leads the Lion on a merry chase through restaurants, businesses, streets or other areas where it’s performing. The performers are expert Kung Fu practitioners. The Lion is accompanied by three musicians who play a large drum, gong and cymbals which are integral to the dance. Drummers create changes in mood and tempo. Each movement has a meaning that the music helps to convey. The Lion performs a ritual known as “choi cheung” known as “picking the greens” and involves chewing and ‘spitting’ pieces of lettuce in four directions.

GUNG HAY FAT CHOY means Happy New Year