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Year of the Dragon: What does the Chinese new year mean for you?

The Chinese Year of the Dragon begins Monday and little celebrations are taking place all over Cairo within the Chinese community. On Saturday, the New Year Dragon made a visit to Maadi’s Community Service Association (CSA), where Chinese cooks and restaurants offered up a buffet of traditional cuisine for the festivities.

There are 12 Chinese year-based horoscopes, beginning with the Rat and continuing through the Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and finally the Pig. The system is cyclical and based on a lunisolar calendar, with New Year’s day appearing on the second new moon after the winter solstice. The date varies from year to year, ranging from the end of January through the middle of February.

Chinese holiday traditions include forgiving past conflicts, hosting elaborate feasts, setting off fireworks and giving children money in red envelopes. The Year of the Dragon is believed to bring success and happiness, while other animals bring other blessings during their years. The celebrations last 15 days after New Year’s, and on the final day a lantern festival takes place in which red lanterns are hung outside houses all over China.

Whether or not you were born in the Year of the Dragon (1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000), this new year means something for you, according to the Chinese Zodiac. Al-Masry Al-Youm had the opportunity to sit down with self-proclaimed Chinese astrologer Joseph Chung during his visit to Cairo, and he agreed to give brief predictions for 2012. Chung believes the Year of the Dragon is one of high risks and high returns — a year during which the financial crisis will finally see some light. Chung explains that this is a “Water Dragon Year,” which means a higher flow of communication between people. He said the following about each of the Chinese animal horoscopes:

Rat (born 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008)

“Romance is expected to blossom and careers will peak for the Rat, who is a risk taker,” says Chung. Chung believes that the Rat must take risks but not aim to defeat everyone. “It is in the rat’s nature to hide indoors, but the rat should head out into the world this year,” explains Chung, “and the Rat is the sign most likely to profit financially in 2012.”

Ox (born 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009)

Despite the risk-taking nature of the Year of the Dragon, Chung says the Ox should be conservative this year and follow his own path. “The Ox should be flexible because in his career, things are about to change,” warns Chung. Chung believes the Ox will be surrounded by love and support this year and advises the Ox to turn to friends rather than depending on therapy.

Tiger (born 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010)

“The Tiger and the Dragon each rule different realms,” explains Chung, “but since this is a Water Dragon Year, the Tiger will benefit from the water element.” Chung says the Tiger should pursue career choices that increase communication because the Tiger needs a boost after the sleepy Rabbit Year that just ended. Chung predicts passion for the Tiger in love but not necessarily a relationship that will last very long.

Rabbit (born 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011)

“This year is all about timing for the Rabbit,” says Chung. In the Rabbit’s career, Chung suggests finding steady ground and holding on tight. In love, Chung predicts wedding bells or celebration for Rabbits in relationships but warns that nervous Rabbits may have trouble with the Dragon pace of the year. “Keep your stress levels and health in check, the Dragon Year is a racy one,” says Chung.

Dragon (born 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012)

Because the Dragon is a Karmic sign, Chung advises the Dragon to remember that he will never receive more than he is giving to the world. “Dragons get excited when it is their year and their pace, but they can become over confident,” chides Chung. He believes the path for the Dragon is clear: “Be good to your body, accept new love, and you will find wealth through routine.”

Snake (born 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001)

“While the Snake may have enjoyed comfortable happiness last year, this year will offer much more success,” says Chung. Chung believes the Snake must take risks and ride the Dragon’s energy this year, throwing caution to the wind. “Snakes should restructure their lives to improve health,” advises Chung, “but they should stay far away from get-rich-quick schemes, even if they are tempting.”

Horse (born 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002)

The Horse is advised to make commitments and get a little carried away this year, according to Chung. “The Horses should take action in their careers and settle down in their relationships,” says Chung. Health-wise, Horses should avoid over-stressing on a busy schedule, and they should curb their spending – despite the over-indulgent nature of the Year of the Dragon. Chung says things are looking up for the Horse this year.

Ram (born 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003)

“The Ram should be wary of changes surrounding his career and focus on what he is really good at,” says Chung. The Ram is warned to be honest about his feelings this year and use the energy he receives in the Year of the Dragon to stay healthy. “The Ram will make good money this year,” explains Chung, “but only if he uses foresight and common sense.” The Ram is also encouraged to engage in water sports.

Monkey (born 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004)

The Monkey is promised an entirely lucky year this year because of the Water Dragon. “The Monkey should travel, and he will find success as long as he communicates,” says Chung. The Monkey is encouraged to take big career risks, pursue new beginnings in relationships and spend money on his home. “Monkeys will have a lot of energy this year and they should be using it,” explains Chung.

Rooster (born 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005)

“The Rooster had a bad year in 2011,” says Chung, “but water and the Dragon favor the Rooster.” Chung encourages Roosters to be creative in their careers and learn new things. “The single Rooster will have a lot of love this year, but Roosters in relationships should work hard to get through the drama,” warns Chung. Chung advises Roosters to take up kickboxing and promises wealth in the second half of the year.

Dog (born 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006)

“The Dragon always means a rough year for the Dog,” says Chung with sympathy, “but with his nose to the ground, the Dog can get a lot out of 2012.” Chung predicts the Dog will discover who his real friends are, and he recommends that the Dog stand up to challenges in his career. “Although the Dog may suffer anxiety this year, he will make it through with meditation and thrift,” advises Chung.

Pig (born 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007)

Chung believes this year will be a little fast-paced for the Pig but advises him to take initiative to stay in the game. “The Dragon will shake things up for the Pig in his relationships,” says Chung, “but this may not be a bad thing.” The Pig has seen good health and good wealth in the past two years, but Chung says this trend can continue if the Pig stays smart and takes some risks.

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