Enter the Dragon, as Monday the 23rd of January members of the Chinese community all over the world celebrating the start of the year of The Dragon. The idea of dragons is universal and they appear in myths from Europe, the Near East, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, although ideas about the nature and appearance of these mythical monsters varies from culture to culture.
Enter the Chinese Dragon 2012
In China dragons are called lung or long and like their European counterparts have scales, although they also have horns and whiskers and unlike Western dragons they tend to lack wings. Despite being wingless Chinese dragons can fly or at least travel on the wind or on clouds.
Chinese dragons bring prosperity and are often shown with a flaming pearl in their mouths to symbolise this aspect of their character. Whilst Western dragons are unfriendly and are associated with fire their Chinese cousins are usually benign and are linked with the element of water.
In Chinese folklore dragons control lakes, rivers, the sea and rain. In the past it was believed each major body of water was controlled by a dragon king. Many Chinese villages would have had a temple to the local dragon king whose co-operation would be secured by the use of special rituals.
Chinese dragons can be categorised by their colour. Black dragons come from the North and their fights cause storms. White dragons are also negative but they come from the South and bring famine and death. Red dragons are much more pleasant and come from the West bringing summer in their wake.
Blue dragons symbolise the East and are harbingers of Spring. Yellow dragons are the greatest of all the dragons and they carry prayers to the gods. There are also named dragons each with a task, for example; Tianlong pulls the chariots of the gods and protects their palaces, whereas Huanglong taught humans how to write and is known for being scholarly.
Let’s hope that the new year of The Dragon will bring peace and prosperity for everyone and to find out your Chinese Horoscope for 2012, join our esteemed colleague Nathaniel for the inside track…