Chinese New Year 2024: Learning from the dragon
Chinese New Year, also known as Lunar New Year and the Spring Festival, is just around the corner and for millions of people across the world it is a time of reunion with friends and family, food, cleaning and the giving of red envelopes filled with money to wish good luck for the year ahead. As the auspicious Year of the Dragon begins, Ruth Medlock, a senior solicitor at Miller Samuel Hill Brown, reflects on the Zodiac calendar and the lessons we can all learn from its symbolism.
As the first month of 2024 comes to a close, the second month brings Chinese New Year! This year, Chinese New Year falls on 10 February 2024 and lasts 14 days, and with it comes the year of the dragon.
Now, I myself have never celebrated a Chinese New Year. For some, that may come as a shock and yet others may think nothing of it. I have a blended family and we celebrate the New Year on 31 December / 1 January. However, food, family and fireworks are three of the primary elements of any new year (along with many goals and well wishes for the year ahead). One thing I have missed out on though are the red envelopes…
Something that everyone is familiar with when it comes to Chinese New Year is the Zodiac calendar. In the infamous race to be the Jade Emperor’s guard, the story states that the dragon was fifth. Even though the dragon was not victorious, the dragon’s good looks were allegedly noted (albeit they didn’t help in the race itself!).
Despite its intimidating exterior, the only mythical creature to compete in this race was said to be rather selfless! A flying creature would surely win the race, right? However, the dragon is said to have stopped along the way to assist some villagers, as well as one of its competitors (the rabbit).
The Zodiac calendar may not be followed religiously these days, but in amongst the light-hearted competitiveness in discussing which animal you or your friends and family may be, there is an appreciation of the symbolism behind it all. Through that symbolism, I believe there are some light-hearted lessons we can all take on board when we consider the kind of legal sector we want to champion and be a part of in the year ahead.
Each day, we all stand at the starting line and contribute to our firms (and consequently the legal sector) in different ways depending on our unique skills and perspective. Over the course of our careers, we hone our existing skills, while developing others and taking on new challenges in every chapter. Some colleagues we meet along the way may benefit from your skills and you theirs.
In this New Year, you may wish to prioritise a particular aspect of your profession. For example, by working smarter, not harder (much like the rat arguably did) or you may consider a mentoring role within your firm (similar to the ox).
What hopefully comes across through this symbolism is that in pushing the (red) envelope, the legal profession ultimately benefits from each and every contribution regardless of the source of that contribution or what that source may look like.
Being part of the Law Society of Scotland’s roundtables and conversations within the sector about embracing diversity have shown me (and hopefully the rest of us) that we are all able to advance the legal profession by working together.
Xīn Nián Kuài Lè (happy new year) when it comes!