Chinese New Year 2024: What Does the Year of the Dragon Mean?

Chinese New Year falls on February 10th this year. The festival always falls on the second new moon after the winter solstice, on December 21st, and is rich in symbolism. 2024 is the year of the Wood Dragon.

But why is it the year of the Wood Dragon?

What character traits will newborns have in 2024?

Why could wearing yellow help you attract more wealth this year?

Find out more below.

The 12-Year Chinese Zodiac

Most of the western world follows the Gregorian calendar. But countries like China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam and Korea follow a lunisolar calendar as well. The Chinese lunisolar calendar was in use almost 2,500 before the Gregorian calendar!

Onto the zodiac.

The reason for a 12-year cycle is actually because Jupiter takes 12 years to travel around the sun. Each year in this 12-year cycle has a corresponding animal sign.  The 12 animal signs are Rat (shu 鼠), Ox (niu 牛), Tiger (hu 虎), Rabbit (tu 兔), Dragon (long 龍), Snake (she 蛇), Horse (ma 馬), Sheep (yang 羊), Monkey (hou 猴), Rooster (ji 雞), Dog (gou 狗) and Pig (zhu 豬). According to legend, the order of these animal signs come about because Buddha summoned all the animals and told them he would name a year after each of the 12 that arrived first.  

But we’re not done yet!

Each year also has a corresponding element associated with it. The five elements in Chinese cosmology are Metal (jin 金), Wood (mu 木), Water (shui 水), Fire (huo 火) or Earth (tu 土).

According to tradition (and in traditional Chinese medicine) the elements interact as such:

  • Water feeds Wood
  • Wood starts a Fire
  • Fire creates Earth
  • Earth holds Metal
  • Metal carries Water

When we created UMAMU Estate, one of the reasons for the name was to have five letters because of the five elements. This was not only a nod to our heritage but also in appreciation of the natural processes required to make our award-winning wines.

As you can see, the 5 elements create a full 60-year cycle. And this is why turning 60 is a really big deal in Chinese cultures – because a person is coming back to their zodiac year and element for the first time.

What Character Traits do Wood Dragons Have?

If you are turning 60 this year, or you’re awaiting a newborn, a word of warning.

Character traits are generalisations!

But here we go. Individuals born in the year of the dragon are said to possess energy and enthusiasm. They are said to charm their way into social circles with their self-confidence. They are naturally lucky.

Wood Dragons also are said to be reluctant to accept defeat. In its extreme, this can lead to arrogance, dominance and irritability. 

Here are some Wood Dragons turning 60 this year:

  • Boris Johnson
  • Jack Ma
  • Russell Crowe
  • Keanu Reeves
  • Lenny Kravitz 

Can you see any of the Wood Dragon characteristics in these popular figures, or in your own life?

Why Should You Wear Gold in 2024?

Every zodiac sign is associated with a lucky colour. In the year of the dragon, this colour is gold. Gold is of course associated with wealth but also with royalty and nobility.

The year of the Wood Dragon is a good year to start a business or develop your career. Even more so if you surround yourself with the colour gold. If you wear gold or use gold to decorate in 2024 it is said you can enhance your connection with wealth. 

What Wine Are You According to the Chinese Zodiac?

Back in 2022, I wrote a blog comparing the main characteristics from each year of the Chinese zodiac with a wine.

It was our most popular read that year! 

In case you’re wondering what wine shares the same characteristics as you…you can read the blog here.

How to Bring Yourself Even More Luck this Lunar New Year?

Chinese New Year is the biggest family celebration of the year in celebrating countries.

One of our favourite traditions is tossing the ‘yee sang’ salad. The name literally means ‘prosperity toss’. Each element in the salad represents things like abundance, prosperity and good luck. 

Each person in the family/ gathering will toss the salad as high as they can while wishing out loud for good things to come in the new lunar year. According to tradition, the higher you toss the more luck you bring.

If you’re interested in looking at a recipe for ‘yee sang’ can read last year’s blog here.

Oh, and by the way. 

I am working through as many yee sangs as I can and pairing them with as many wines as I get to and here is the list so far! I am amazed how versatile the salad is.  So it pairs well with our museum Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2005. This wine continues strong and we still have some in our wine museum. It is rocking and full of character.

The yee sang also pairs well with our museum Cabernet Merlot 2010, 2010 Mac's Chardonnay and 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon. 

I just realised all the wines i have tried with the salad are museum! Well they are more mellow and can work with gentler foods like the salad and doesn't over power it.