Home > Chinese Culture > Zodiac > Dragon

The Dragon

Ask Question

The dragon takes the fifth place behind the rabbit and before the snake in the Chinese Zodiac. As the folk lore goes, with its strength and speed, the dragon should have taken the fourth place behind the tiger if it had not been so arrogant as to underestimate the speed of the rabbit that jumped over it at the last minute in the race to get the fourth place. Of course, this is only a folk lore created by people who tried to explain the ranking of the dragon that seemed so powerful in every way than the rabbit. 

In fact, among the 12 animals, the dragon is the only mythical animal that doesn't exist in reality. It was created out of the imagination of the people of various cultures. But, the details in the images of the dragon vary a lot from the east and west though they share similarities, and the concepts for this animal also differ greatly. 

In the west, dragons are thought to be evil and are often regarded as demons as appeared in the early British literature Beowulf. It is often describes as a black animal with a dreadful head, fearful eyes, a big and bloody mouth, two huge, ugly wings and claws. No wonder the westerners can hardly understand why the Chinese people worship the dragon so much and even regarded it as the source of the nation. 

The dragon, however, enjoys great popularity in China, as well as some other countries in Asia. The Chinese dragon appears yellow with a combination of a camel head, deer horns, tiger whiskers, rabbit eyes, bull ears, a pig mouth, eagle claws, and a snake body with fish scales, each part representing unique power of the animal: flying, swimming, running, sneaking, and other strength that can help survive in the nature. To the Chinese people, it also symbolizes dominance and ambition. 

On the other hand, the combination of the body of the Chinese dragon also symbolizes the unification of early tribes in ancient times that used these animals as their unique totems to make up the big nation--- the Chinese. The image of the dragon has been passed down from generation to generation through the Chinese history. All the Chinese people believe that they are the offspring of the original tribes with these animals as the totems that make up this dragon image, which represents vigor, strength, nobility, passion, and loyalty, etc. Therefore, the images can be found everywhere in China: the dragon wall, the pillar, the boat, and the dance, etc. It is especially liked by the emperors of many dynasties. They called themselves "the son of the dragon" and they have "dragon face"; they wore "dragon robe"; they slept on "dragon beds" and they sat on "dragon thrones". 

In the Chinese culture, the dragon is believed to live under the sea and controls the water in the world. Whenever famines, either droughts or floods, occur, people will pray to it for help. The Chinese people even build temples to worship it, which are called "Temple for the King of the Dragon". If you come and visit China, you will realize what position the dragon has here in this culture, though it ranks 5 in the Chinese Zodiac. 

The year of the dragon takes place ever twelve years. Those born in 1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012, 2024, 2036, 2048, to name some, are dragons, as they call themselves and they feel happy to be born in these years with the believe that people born in these years are considered intelligent, gifted, popular , successful, and full of vitality and enthusiasm. They may become artists, politicians, or leaders. 

A dragon will be compatible with a Snake or Rooster. However, a sheep will not be a good choice.

Questions & Answers on The Dragon
Ask a Question about The Dragon
Back Go Top