- (Photo: Reuters/Nicky Loh)
The Year of the Rabbit has officially been left behind Monday as the Chinese New Year arrives, bringing in the Year of the Dragon.
Among the most important of all traditional Chinese holidays, the Chinese New Year is also known as "Spring Festival," and includes dances, fireworks, family gatherings, elaborate meals, and gift exchanges.
There are 12 Chinese zodiac animals, and those born in the years 1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, and 2012 are considered today's Dragons.
Many Hollywood stars born during years of the Dragon are entering this year with what is believed by the Chinese to be an advantage. Dragons, who are compatible with those born in the years of the Monkey and Rat, are energetic, short-tempered, honest, and intelligent, among many other characteristics.
Today stars such as Rihanna, born Feb. 20, 1988, will welcome 2012 with the boundless energy which Dragons are known to have.
Rock and roll star Courtney Love, born in 1964, shares a rambunctious Dragon-like personality with fellow singer Rihanna, and is known for her party lifestyle.
Also a Dragon, Sandra Bullock displays features listed about the Chinese zodiac sign.
Born July 26, 1964, Bullock once told Parade magazine, "I don't ever want to come home saying, 'I should have spoken my mind. I shouldn't have let someone say something that I didn't feel was right.'"
Intelligent, honest, and sensitive -- Bullock demonstrated qualities of the Dragon during the interview.
A close friend of the "Miss Congeniality" actress, Ryan Reynolds is also a Dragon. The actor was both on Oct. 23, 1978 and is reportedly a trust-worthy friend to Bullock-a trait important to Dragons.
Another Dragon, Reese WItherspoon, once told the U.K.'s Elle magazine "I get scared" of failure- aligning with the Dragon-like trait to strive for success.
"I think the fear comes from wanting to be great," continued Witherspoon. "It's not from thinking you can't do it. I know I can do it. I just want to do it the best."
Singing sensation Adele, born May 5, 1988, marks another Dragon entering the Chinese New Year. The "Someone Like You" singer is very sensitive, in addition to hard-working, both characteristics of a Dragon.
A younger Dragon, Willow Smith is only 11-years-old, yet has a blossoming career in music as well as in acting.
Famous Dragons of the past include Joan of Arc, Susan B. Anthony, John Lennon, and Florence Nightingale, to name a few.