Two ‘traditions’ joined on Saturday 25 August at the European Centre at Colchester. An intermittently wet August Bank Holiday weekend just had to be the ideal time to celebrate the Year of the Water Dragon!
According to Chinese tradition, each of the 12 animal years is associated with each of the five elements, making a 60-year cycle. So those born in 1952 reach their 60th birthdays this year—all are Water Dragons. The age of 60 is considered in many eastern cultures to be the start of a new, and auspicious, stage in life.
As part of a 3-day regional workshop, the Saturday evening meal was turned into a Year of the Water Dragon celebration. Many people were wearing their new Year of the Dragon t-shirts, others changed into Chinese style shirts or jackets for the event. Among other delightful dishes were sumptuous salmon with coconut rice and a mango dessert. After that, the lights were dimmed and sparklers lit on wonderful platters of fresh fruit, including – of course – dragon fruit. Following the meal many present joined in with some “dragon practice” around the hall to finish the day and to prepare for a display on the Monday.
Sunday continued with the workshop and some more practice with the dragon, and on Monday the rain held off just long enough for the dragon to be packed into his dragon-box and taken to Colchester’s Castle Park. The drum and cymbals helped draw people in, and the dragon in all its glory did a wonderful job of attracting attention. Members had practiced a rather compact “wave” and “spiral” in the practice hall but outside on the park, the luxury of plenty of space as well as well-tended grass helped the dragon to fly.
Coincidentally, Colchester Council had commissioned a topiary dragon for the park to promote a Chinese exhibition in the town, and the two just had to meet (see photo)!
Of course the display wouldn’t be complete without some tai chi sets performed by some very happy members…