At midnight on February 10, 2024, countries celebrating the Lunar New Year said goodbye to the Year of the Rabbit and hello to the Year of the Dragon. The sign of the Dragon is considered auspicious. Birthrates spike in dragon years, as babies born in these years are said to have particularly promising qualities throughout their lives, including cleverness, charm, eloquence, and even wealth. Dragons are also desirable marriage and business partners.
In Saigon, topiaries, paintings, sculptures, and flower displays featuring dragons are everywhere in the city. There are countless opportunities for people to dress in their best outfits and head out to find the perfect “Year of the Dragon” tableau to have their pictures taken with friends and family.
Nguyen Hue, a central pedestrian walkway, was shut down for weeks prior to the new year celebration as workers converted the entire corridor into a tribute to the dragon. It includes (of course) gigantic dragons that move their heads and “roar,” their bodies twisting and winding through the entire passage. There are also thousands of flowers, lanterns, and signs wishing people “Chúc Mừng Năm Mới” (Happy New Year) as they stroll through. Some structures have metal bracing, but much of the decor consists of bamboo and painted paper mâché. According to reports, 90% of the materials used are recyclable.
Five different types of dragons cycle through the years: earth, metal, water, wood, and fire. So, while the “Year of the Dragon” comes around every twelve years (and all dragons celebrate the birth year), each dragon element only come around every 60 years. 2024 is the year of the Wood Dragon, so there won’t be another Wood Dragon year until 2084.
The qualities associated with the Wood Dragon are warmth, generosity, cooperation and idealism. People born in a Wood Dragon year are said to be outgoing, socially conscious, and courageous. A Wood Dragon looks for ways to grow and expand.
No matter which of the 12 animals of the zodiac you are, every Lunar New Year is a celebration for everyone. However, in Saigon, the dragon is associated with power, luck, and prosperity, and is a part of the mythical history of the country. So, there is a bit more excitement when the Year of the Dragon rolls around.
Chúc Mừng Năm Mới…
Let the Year of the Dragon begin!