The Year of the Rabbit has departed and in the east and many other parts of the world the day started with a bang from a firecracker or two to celebrate the Year of the Water Dragon. Chinese astrologers predict this could be a great year for growth and change, as the Chinese element theory dictates that water produces wood, which signifies growth. The Chinese consider the dragon to be unpredictable as people cannot see its head and tail at the same time. Therefore, we might see something unexpected happening in 2012. A new pest species perhaps? Let’s hope jumping cockroaches don’t decide to invade our homes and premises. For those in business, it’s a year to seize opportunities for new conquests, greater profitability, and company growth.In the run up to Chinese New Year, homes are spring-cleaned thoroughly so that all the bad luck (and pests lingering in cracks and crevices) is swept away (and on the first day of the new year, brooms and dustpans are put away and never used in case the good luck of the new year is swept away!) Often houses are freshly painted. Traditional Chinese homes sometimes get a new coat of red paint, as red is a particularly lucky colour (and it’s our corporate colour too!). Homes are decorated with paper cut-outs and children given money in red envelopes.
Of the twelve animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac the rat, which is sometimes referred to as rodent or mouse is the cleverest. The most well-known of the Chinese zodiac legends states that Buddha invited the animals to participate in a race. The first 12 animals to cross the river would appear on the Chinese Zodiac calendar in the order in which they completed the race.
The first animal to make it across the finish line was the rat. Chinese Zodiac legends and mythology explains that the rat used his brain rather than his brawn. It hitched a ride on the ox, which it thought would be the mightiest swimmer. Just before the ox reached the shore, the rat jumped off and crossed the finish line before the ox, putting the rat in first place. The Dragon finished fifth and is revered by the Chinese. In the old days, the dragon represented the Chinese emperor and was used as an image to extol and herald prosperity, power and intelligence.
Will The Year of the Dragon be a great year for business or will 2020, the next Year of the Rat fare better for Rentokil? We’ll report back in a year.
Gung hei fat choi! Happy New Year!