- Some Lunar New Year celebrations this year are different from the traditional red decorations.
- According to the Korean zodiac, 2024 is the year of the blue dragon, known as “gapjin” in the 60-year sixty-year cycle.
- In Eastwood, Sydney’s official Korean quarter, the Festival of Lights will illuminate the streets in blue and red to symbolize unity and a fresh start in the new year.
In the Sydney suburb of Eastwood, square lights decorated in a mixture of red and blue will add a different twist to the traditional spectacle.
The year 2024 is marked as “gapjin”, the 41st place in the cycle.
For example, wood corresponds to the east and the color blue, fire to the south and the color red, earth to the middle and the color yellow, metal to the west and the color white, and water to the north and the color black.
Since the animal in the zodiac repeats every 12 years, 2012 was “imjin” or the year of the black dragon, and 2036 will be “Byeongjin” or the year of the red dragon.
Colorful zodiac marketing
Although the exact origin of this color marketing trend is uncertain, Korea’s leading newspaper Dong-a Ilbo notes that the Year of the Yellow Pig was mentioned in its 1959 New Year’s edition.
The historical significance of the blue dragon
As the only imaginary animal in the 12 zodiacs, the dragon is depicted in murals found in the tombs of the ancient Korean kingdoms of Goguryeo (37 BC–668 AD) and Goryeo (918–1392 AD).
The image of King Taejo, the founder of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1894), dressed in blue dragon robes reflects the creature’s historical significance as a symbol of kingship and power.
In droughts, people prayed to dragons, sometimes images of dragons floated down rivers wishing for rain.
A celebration with the blue dragon Meerue
The Sydney suburb is home to the only official Koreatown in Australia, and the animation will be shown during the Festival of Lights on February 17.
“During these encounters, he becomes more and more beautiful as he takes on different looks and personalities and builds friendships.”
Lee emigrated to Australia with her family when she was 16 years old. She has worked in the banking and finance industry for approximately 20 years and is an active leader in the Korean community in Sydney.
In the story, Meerue meets kangaroos, koalas, and cockatoos upon landing at Uluru, Australia, and his scales become brighter colors as a reflection of the new friends he meets, their smiles and stories.
I wanted to convey a message of openness and diversity to our immigrant children who may lose confidence or become passive in multicultural Australian society.
Julianne Lee, Author
“I wanted to create a natural, beautiful relationship with the illustration by making the texture of natural materials visible and providing a nostalgic comfort by showing threads,” Jeon said.
Lee said the dragon will also connect Australian and Korean culture.
“This year, the Meerue blue dragon will travel from different regions of Korea to each region of Australia to share the friendship between the two countries,” Lee said.
Enrichment of the festival experience
“When a blue dragon appears, it will mean good health, abundance, prosperity and a new beginning,” Seo said.