Year of the Rat
Celebrated in areas with large populations of ethnic Chinese, Chinese New Year is considered a major holiday for the Chinese and has had a strong influence on the new year celebrations of its geographic neighbors, as well as cultures with whom the Chinese have had extensive interaction. These include Koreans, Mongolians, Nepalese, Bhutanese, Vietnamese, and formerly the Japanese before 1873. In Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and other countries with significant Chinese populations, Chinese New Year is also celebrated, largely by overseas Chinese, but it is not part of the traditional culture of these countries.
The history of the Dragon Dance can be dated back to the Han Dynasty (180-230 AD) in ancient China and, like the lion dance, plays an important part in Chinese culture. The Dragon itself has always been regarded as a Sacred creature, symbolizing power, courage, righteousness and dignity amongst others. For this reason, the Chinese show great respect towards the dragon, and have always referred themselves as being Descendants of the Dragon as a sign of ethnic identity.
Dragons of the South
check out the lion/dragon international competion;
"may the sun shine on your face and the wind be at your back all through the year"