Good Food and Good Fortune: Enter the Year of the Dragon
Get outta here, Year of the Rabbit. It’s the Year of the Dragon’s time to shine.
While the west marks the year’s turnover from December 31st to January 1st, many Asian cultures celebrate the Lunar New Year instead (or in addition). Based on the moon’s cycles, the year starts on the first new moon of the Lunar calendar, usually in early February.
We’re about to head into the Year of the Dragon—arguably the coolest animal in the Chinese zodiac. So make like a dragon and breathe some fire. We’re talking symbolism, celebrations, and the bong of the year.
What is the Year of the Dragon?
The Chinese zodiac is a twelve-year cycle, with each year represented by a different animal:
Each year is said to have different characteristics, and the animal of your birth year can impact your entire life.
Starting on February 10, 2024, we’ll be transitioning into the Year of the Dragon. In the Chinese zodiac, the dragon represents good luck, justice, strength, prosperity, intelligence, and honor.
Each time an animal reappears after its 12 year hiatus, it shifts its elemental affiliation through wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. This year’s dragon is based in wood, which represents vitality and creativity. The wood element also reminds us to set good foundations for long-term success.
If you were born in the Year of the Dragon, you may be seen as charismatic, confident, lucky, and powerful. You badass.
What Could the Year of the Dragon Mean for You?
Overall, the dragon is a symbol of luck and fortune. But different birth years fare better under certain zodiac cycles than others. Rats, Monkeys, Snakes, and Pigs tend to mingle well with Dragons, so they could look forward to a prosperous year financially and professionally. It can also be a good year for Dragons themselves, full of growth and regeneration.
The Dragon can be a mixed bag for Rabbits, Goats, Horses, and Roosters. Try to remain flexible so you can dodge and weave whatever the year throws at you.
For Oxen, Tigers, and Dogs, the Year of the Dragon can be challenging. The Wood Dragon is high energy and ambitious, and that can clash with the stability of the Ox, the controlling nature of the Tiger, and the loyalty and prudence of the Dog. Stay proactive and seize every opportunity to make the Wood Dragon’s ambitious nature work for you instead of against you.
Celebrate the Lunar New Year and Year of the Dragon—Stoner Style
With so many distinct Asian cultures celebrating in their own way, there is no “right way” to honor the Lunar New Year. But here are a few ways you can join the approximately 2 billion people that observe this festive occasion.
Get Down on Some Cultural Appreciation
If you like to get baked and get out there, look for a Lunar New Year celebration to join in your area. You could go to a special brunch or dinner at an Asian restaurant, shop arts and crafts at special Asian and Asian American markets, or join a Lunar New Year festival for traditional food, fireworks, live music, and lion/dragon dances.
If your city has a Chinatown or Koreatown, that is the place to be. New York, Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, LA, and Houston are all having massive celebrations this year. But even smaller cities may have some sweet community events.
Bonus: when you attend these events, you show your financial support to POC-owned businesses. And we’re always down for that.
Make Your Own Luck (and Eat It)
Food is a huge part of the Lunar New Year celebration. While exact foods for the holiday vary among Asian cultures, and even within different regions, they are loaded with symbolism and wishes for the year ahead.
So smoke a big ol’ bowl and embark on an epic cooking session.
Chinese dumplings are said to bring wealth to the new year, as they resemble silver and gold ingots used in parts of ancient China.
The character for “fish” in some Chinese languages sounds just like the character for “being abundant.” So fish is a prosperous food. The most common fish for Chinese New Year are crucian carp and Chinese mud carp, steamed and served whole. Catfish is also popular (and much easier to find in the U.S.).
Rolled up and deep fried, spring rolls develop a pretty golden color that’s said to resemble gold bars. Put them on the table to attract more wealth in the new year.
Tangyuan (Sweet Rice Balls)
The word “tangyuan” is a homophone for the word “reunion,” so these sweet treats symbolize family togetherness. This is a dessert made from a rice flour dough, filled with sweet black sesame paste and served in hot broth or syrup. Sometimes they’re colored pink with beetroot juice, green with matcha powder, or orange with carrot juice.
Nian Gao (Sweet Rice Cake)
The words “nian gao” sound like “getting higher year on year.” And that’s a goal we can embrace wholeheartedly (wink). Nian gao is a sticky rice cake made from glutinous rice flour, water, and sugar, but there are lots of regional variations across China.
Long noodles, long life. Longevity noodles are often (but not always) an egg noodle, but they are always loooooooooong to symbolize long life. You can get these pre-packaged at Asian specialty stores, or make your own from scratch. Slurp up each noodle whole, rather than biting it off—the longer it stays intact, the better for you.
Watch a Lunar New Year Film
With a bowl packed with herb and another bowl packed with longevity noodles, settle in for a holiday-themed film. Here are some picks that are particularly suited to a Lunar New Year celebration.
> The New Year’s Eve of Old Lee - three generations of a family reconnect on Lunar New Year; drama ensues
> Us and Them - two former lovers reunite when traveling to Beijing for the New Year and see if they can give love another chance
> Wonderful! Liang Xi Mei - a Singapore Lunar New Year comedy about a retired woman and her eldest son’s troublesome get-rich-quick schemes (including seeking help from the God of Fortune)
> All’s Well, Ends Well - Chinese New Year comedy about three brothers, their romantic shenanigans, and their attempts to earn their parents’ approval
> Enter the Dragon - Not new year-themed, but it is the greatest martial arts film of all time. And c’mon, it’s got “dragon” in the name.
Smoke Your Way Through the Year of the Dragon
What piece of paraphernalia is well-suited to such a year with so much potential? Any pipe or bong that keeps you feeling abundant and creative is going to fit the bill. But if we had to pick just one, we’d pick the GRAV® Small Wide Base Water Pipe in Smoke.
With its durable borosilicate, this bong radiates strength. The wide base makes it super stable in your hand or on a tabletop, reflecting those strong woody foundations that we’re after this year. And with that smoke color, it looks like it’s been kissed by dragon breath. (The traditional Chinese dragon wasn’t a fire-breather, but still.)
Whatever piece you’re carrying with you into the Year of the Dragon, light up and dream big. No one knows for sure what’s coming, but you can always rely on some greenery to get you through.