Discovery lab - Chinese dragons
I thought I might feel lonely because it was my first time away from home and missing the big family dinner at such an important time. But actually, it was a really exciting experience standing in the crowds made up of people from all over the world to celebrate my traditional day together.
It reminded me how Chinese people celebrate Christmas Eve. They go outside and have parties - it's a very good excuse to have fun!
I asked some of my colleagues how they thought the Chinese would celebrate the New Year. And almost all of them mentioned that people would go into the street to enjoy the dragon dance.
The answer is quite predictable. No matter where it is, in my hometown of Chengdu or London, the dragon dance is a traditional activity that people do.
I have no idea if the show will be different this year because it is actually the dragon’s year. But I imagine it will because the meaning dragon gives to 2012 seems much stronger and more special. Just like the mayor of London Boris Johnson described it as "the mightiest of the signs" and a symbol of "passion, ambition and success".
As the most mysterious creature among the twelve Chinese zodiac animals, the dragon plays a very important role in Chinese culture. Historically, it was seen and used as the symbol of imperial power by the Emperor of China. And in daily language, it is also used to represent good fortune and people’s success.
If you want to test how well you know China, this is a good chance to ask yourself: what does the dragon really mean to Chinese people?
I tried it with a few British friends, comparing their answers to those from Chinese people. Not serious research but fun exploring!
The most common words said by British people were "strength, powerful, mythical and inspiring", and from Chinese people they are "powerful, good fortune, totem, metaphor of Chinese, we are descendant of dragon".
Descendant of dragon! Not everyone outside China realises that the dragon is part of who we are!
I have seen some brands launching very simple campaigns by designing packaging with the dragon’s image. This superficial approach may bring some results but I doubt that it is deep enough to take advantage of all the opportunities.
Make the effort to get real insight into your market, and this year may bring you the fortune and power of the dragon.