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Year of the Snake Brings Obstacles, Advancements Updated: 2013-01-01 00:00:00 KST

[Reporter : Moon Conn-young
ed:scott] The new year is traditionally the time for a little crystal ball-gazing to find out what the future will bring but as we are here in Korea, we're casting aside the crystal ball and doing it the Korean way.
This is a picture of the Korean zodiac called the Shibeeganji.
And, on this Shibeeganji, each year corresponds to one of twelve animals - 2012, for instance, was the Year of the Dragon.
According to this chart, 2013 is the Year of the Snake.
It is then associated with one of five elements - fire, water, wood, metal, and earth.
2013 falls into the element of water making it the Year of the Black Water Snake which only comes around once every 60 years.

Snakes can be seen as wily masters of subterfuge, but they are not viewed as evil in traditional Korean astrology.
Rather, they are associated with long life, protection and good fortune.
So, how does the average Korean feel about the Year of the Black Water Snake[Interview : Park Sun-joon, Jobseeker] "The words 'strength' and 'perseverance' come to my mind when I think of snakes. Since 2013 is the Year of the Black Snake, I hope I can receive its strong energy and successfully find a job in the new year."

[Interview : Seo Jae-yoon, Student] "Many people dislike snakes and want to avoid them, but my sister was born in the Year of the Snake so, I feel close to them.
As we have a new president, the first female president in Korea, I hope she will do an outstanding job and revive the economy."

[Reporter : Moon Conn-young
jenmoon@arirang.co.kr] "This is the National Folk Museum of Korea in Seoul and here a special exhibition is being held to commemorate the Year of the Snake. Come on in with me."

The items that are on display are a testament to how integrated the double-sided animal is to Korean lives.

[Interview : Koo Mun-hoe, Curator
National Folk Museum of Korea] "The snake is an animal that probably receives the most extreme evaluations. In real life, they are creatures to be avoided but in imaginary life, snakes are mythical creatures with special powers."

According to Korean folk culture experts people born in the Year of the Snakeare influential, insightful, motivated, intellectual, and determined to succeed.
Some famous people born in the Year of the Snake include former U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, China's Founder Mao Zedong, former Korean president and father of President-elect Park Geun-hye, Park Chung-hee, current President Lee Myung-bak, China's next leader in-waiting Xi Jinping, U.S. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and Korea's Olympic Gold Medalist Swimmer Park Tae-hwan.

Now, then, what does the future hold for Korea in the Year of the Black Water Snake[Interview : Baek Un-san, President
Korean Association of Fortunetellers] "In the first half of 2013, up until July on the solar calendar I see difficulties in the way of politics and economy but, as we proceed on to the second half of the Year of the Black Snake there should be significant advancements on all fronts, including politics, inter-Korean relations, and culture."

The Year of the Snake has long been believed to symbolize resuscitation, fertility, and prosperity.
Well, here's hoping the Year of the Black Water Snake proves to be more a creature of strength and prosperity than of venom.
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