If my second niece/nephew arrives on its due date, it will be born into the Chinese year of the Dragon which begins on the 23rd January 2012.

According to the Chinese belief, those born in the year of the Dragon are highly likely to excel in life, due to their strong personality and determination. Not a bad sign to belong to eh?

The dragon is the 5th of the 12 signs of the Chinese Zodiac and is classified with the five elements, metal, water (which 2012 is), wood fire and earth. The water calms the dragon’s fire and those born in the year of the water dragon have the special gift and ability to see two points of view. I only wish I knew a few more people born in the year of the water dragon………

I find it exciting and refreshing that Australians are so diversified at last, and can embrace and truly celebrate so many wonderful festivals and ceremonies, far removed from our original roots.

My parents are blessed to have wonderful neighbours, and we have been fortunate to have been included in some exceptional traditions. Our Chinese neighbour is married to a Swede so apart from some incredible Chinese New Year parties, plus other Chinese celebrations like Mooncake Day and Lantern Day, (believe me, the Chinese have partying down to a finer art than we Aussies!!) we have also been included in the Swedish Kraftskiva feast (in translation this means a crayfish feast, or in plain English, a craybob feast) which traditionally is celebrated in August to celebrate the start of the crayfish season.

Life can be so rich if we adopt other cultural festivals, and apart from broadening our all too small horizons, it is surely through social interaction that amazing friendships can be built and barriers can be leveled.

So give yourself a growing experience this Chinese New Year, by grabbing a cultural change, and take yourself down to the local Chinese Café, or if you are lucky enough to live close by, spend some time in China town as the celebrations can continue on for several days.

Make 2012 your year for fun, for new experiences and for spreading wings. Get out there and discover the magic of change, by adopting, then embracing the Chinese New Year of the Dragon.

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