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The Chinese Dragon: the Ultimate Guide

Have you always been fascinated by the Chinese Dragon? Do you wonder what the Chinese Dragon symbolizes? Do you want to know why the Chinese Dragon is so important to the Chinese people? As a dragon enthusiast, I will unravel all these mysteries and tell you all about the Chinese Dragon in this Ultimate Guide. ?

Chinese Dragon Meaning

The sacred animal that is the Chinese dragon embodies powerful and benevolent symbols. Chinese dragons have always been rooted in the national beliefs and traditions of the Chinese people. Let’s see how they created this magical relationship and why the Chinese dragon is such an important cultural symbol in China.

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The Meaning of the Chinese Dragon

The Traditional Chinese Dragon, whose real name is actually “Long” (or lung, 龙 / 龍, lóng), means and symbolizes unity, the primary value of Chinese civilization. Unity brings more strength and power to the Chinese people, which is why the representative of the Chinese people and nation, the Emperor, called himself the “True Long” (真龙天子), son of heaven and direct descendant of the Chinese dragons.

Chinese Dragon meaning

The ancient Chinese dragons are the ultimate symbols of cosmic Chi (energy). It is said to be the most powerful symbol of good fortune in the pantheon of Chinese symbols. As one of the four creatures representing the points of the compass, the Chinese dragon is synonymous with new beginnings. The Chinese dragon also has the power to release water on parched land, representing abundance and well-being.

Continued success, great achievements and prosperity are also part of the Chinese Dragon’s arsenal of positive qualities and meanings, making it one of the most popular Asian creatures. ? All in all, the appearance of a Chinese dragon is a very positive sign. You can see them at events such as the Dragon Boat Festival, Chinese New Year (dragon dance), weddings and many others. The Chinese dragon brings its blessing to those who revere it according to the Chinese people.

The Symbolism of the Chinese Dragon

Chinese Dragons are legendary creatures in Chinese mythology and folklore. In Chinese art, dragons are generally depicted as serpentine, scaly, and four-legged creatures. Unlike European dragons, which are considered evil, Chinese dragons traditionally symbolize powerful and auspicious powers. They have the particularity of controlling water, rain, hurricanes and floods. The Chinese dragon is also a symbol of power, strength and good luck.

symbol dragon

The Chinese Dragon is also a symbol of imperial authority. Especially the yellow dragons or the golden five-clawed dragons, they were the symbol of the emperor in many Chinese dynasties. The imperial throne was called the Dragon’s Throne. At the end of the Qing Dynasty, the dragon was even adopted as the national flag. The Chinese dragon is depicted on sculptures on the steps of palaces and imperial tombs, such as the Forbidden City in Beijing.

chinese dragon symbol

The Chinese Dragon symbolizes the sovereignty of emperors, and everything related to it was exclusively reserved for emperors in Chinese feudal society. The ancient emperors called their sons “dragon seeds”, their robes were “dragon robes”, and their chairs were “dragon chairs”, and according to legends and stories, the Chinese considered themselves to be the descendants of dragons since ancient times. To understand this, we must look at the origin of the Chinese dragon and Chinese traditions.

The Origin of Chinese Dragon

The Origin of the Chinese Dragon is not proven, but some specialists believe that it comes from totems of different Chinese tribes. Others believe that it results from a stylized representation of existing animals, such as snakes, fish or crocodiles. It is from these speculations that the Chinese dragon has gradually evolved into a mythical creature.

totem dragon

The Chinese savant Wen Yiduo suggested that this fantastic collection of animal parts was in fact based on the political union of several different tribes, each having a different animal as a totem pole. The dragon was therefore a symbolic representation of the assimilation of these tribes into one nation. However, this interesting hypothesis does not explain the appearance of dragons long before such political associations existed in early Chinese communities.

The dragon is one of the first creatures to appear in the tales and legends of ancient China. It is not known when, by whom and in what reality the dragon was invented, although some historians suggest a link with rainbows and a “snake of the sky” that is seen after rain showers or at waterfalls. Carved jade dragons have been unearthed from sites of Hongshan culture. This discovery can be dated between 4500 and 3000 BC, long before any written record of the creature appeared. Let’s take an interest in the history of these ancient Chinese civilizations.

The History of the Chinese Dragon

Stories tell that long ago, around 2500 BC, in ancient China, tribes fought among themselves to gain more land. The Yellow Emperor Huang Di made an alliance with another tribal chieftain named Yan Di to gain an advantage in the battle. It is said that Yan Di was born through his mother’s telepathic communications with a powerful dragon. The story goes that this powerful dragon helped him in his quests and with his help, both Huang Di and Yang Di defeated their common enemy, the people Jiǔ led by Chiyou during the battle of Zhuolu. When the tribes of Huang Di and Yan Di united, they chose the dragon as the symbol for their new banner.

history chinese dragon

Since prehistoric times, many Chinese have considered themselves to be the descendants of Huang Di and Yan Di, and thus the descendants of the Chinese dragons. In Chinese, it is said (炎黄子孙) yán huáng zǐsūn, the descendants of Huang Di and Yan Di. There is also a well-known song in China about (龙的传人) lóng de chuánrén, the descendants of the Chinese dragon. ?

As you can see, the symbol of the Chinese dragon dates back to ancient China. As civilization evolved and tribes disappeared in favor of dynasties in China, the importance of the dragon increased. From the Han Dynasty onward, emperors began to consider themselves as dragons. It all started with Liu Bang who later became the oldest emperor of the Han Dynasty.

One day, while his mother was dreaming of meeting a divine spirit, the sky darkened and when Liu’s father entered, he found a Chinese dragon lying next to his wife. As a result of this divine encounter, she became pregnant and gave birth to Liu Bang. Some people said he had a high nose, mustache and a strange beard that reminded them of a Chinese dragon’s head. Liu Bang became the first emperor of the Han dynasty.

chinese dragon history

The following emperors did their utmost to maintain this divine bond with the Chinese dragons. As the heirs of Liu Bang, they claimed that they were also the sons of Chinese dragons, and that the blood of Chinese dragons flowed through their veins.

From then on, everything in the emperor’s retinue was engraved with Chinese dragons: from clothing to furniture. For example, only the emperor was allowed to wear a dragon symbol on his clothes. The claws of the Chinese dragon symbolized the ranks of society, and the higher the rank, the more claws one had. Chinese generals and chiefs could have up to 4 claws. Only the emperor could wear a Chinese dragon with 5 claws, which symbolized the real hands of the emperor. If someone other than the emperor had the 5 claws, he was killed.

dragon throne

As we will explain in the following, emperors also chose the color of their Chinese dragon to show their power. The color they choose for their Chinese dragon becomes the most important color in society. No one else was allowed to wear this color, or they were punished.

Body Parts of the Chinese Dragon

body parts chinese dragon physiognomy

The physical appearance of the Chinese Dragon is often divided into several parts, as it is described as belonging to different species of animals. The body of the Chinese Dragon is that of a snake, covered with scales reminiscent of a carp. Its legs resemble those of a tiger, and its claws resemble those of an eagle.

physiognomy chinese dragon

The shape of the Chinese Dragon’s Head is inspired by the camel’s, it is decorated with a pair of deer horns or sometimes antelope horns. He always wears very long whiskers and goatees. Frequently, in addition to the horns, two antennas decorate its head. The eyes are those of the devil and the ears those of the bull. The neck is often equipped with a mane like the lion’s, he sometimes wears it on his elbows. In Vietnam, it has a crest of 81 scales.

chinese dragon physiognomy

The paws of the Asian dragon have a certain number of claws. This number, which varies from 3 to 5, is an indicator of the “rank” that the dragon occupies among its fellow creatures. Indeed, the dragon with 5 claws, is considered the most powerful. Only the Emperor of China could use this emblem, as well as his family.

chinese dragon physic

This is why any item of clothing, furniture or architecture struck by the 5 claws dragon was attributed to the imperial family and respected as such. The great nobles and mandarins could in turn use this emblem in their turn according to their relationship with power. In Korea and Indonesia, only 4-fingered dragons are generally found. Those with three fingers are more common in Japan.

Dragon in Chinese Mythology

The Dragon in Chinese Mythology is one of the powerful creatures with supernatural powers. They are associated with the ability to control the seasons, weather and crops. In general, they usually symbolize the following:

dragon in chinese mythology

?Masculinity – In traditional Chinese society, men were considered physically strong and powerful and often had influence in community affairs. These tendencies are embodied by the dragon.
?Nobility – According to Chinese astrology, those born in the year of the dragon are more prosperous and noble than others. For example, 1988, 2000, 2012 and 2024 are considered the years of the dragon. Those born in the year of the dragon are considered to have strong will, determination and confidence.
?Agricultural life – In Chinese mythology, dragons are supposed to control time and seasons. Although most Chinese dragons do not have wings, males have the power to fly to the sky and bring rain, while females control land waters such as rivers, lakes, seas and wells.
?Luck – Some people also believe that dragons symbolize fortune and luck. Thus, dragons are carved on utensils and personal objects to bring the best of life to life.
?Kindness – The Chinese dragon is most often seen as a sign of kindness and warmth (remember that the Chinese dragon does not spit fire like its European counterparts). However, there are a few exceptions.
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Chinese Dragon Color Meaning

In China, the color of the dragons is important, it determines their habitat, their powers and their rank. Chinese dragons are colorful creatures and each of these colors has a unique symbolism. The Chinese Blue Dragon and the Chinese Green Dragon symbolize nature, health and tranquility. Some people also associate these dragons with healing, peace and rest. Other Chinese Dragon Colors are also well known:

chinese dragon color meaning

⚫️ The Chinese Black Dragon is often associated with revenge by people. Thus, it is often linked to disasters such as storms and floods.
⚪️The Chinese White Dragon is considered a symbol of purity, just as in the West. However, it is also sometimes equated with death and mourning, and some people consider it a bad omen.
?The Chinese Red Dragon, on the other hand, symbolizes good fortune. This is why this symbol is popular at weddings and other traditional Chinese celebrations, it incites happiness and brings good fortune.
?The Chinese Yellow or Golden Dragon is associated with wealth and power. Some also believe that this dragon can control the weather and seasons. It is the most revered dragon and is therefore often regarded as a symbol of empire and emperor. Other attributes associated with this dragon are warmth, wisdom and wealth. The Chinese yellow dragon is the only one to have five claws on each leg.

color meaning chinese dragon

The 9 Chinese Dragons

The dragon is the deity of aquatic phenomena, in Chinese popular beliefs. It is one of the four sacred animals of China along with the Phoenix, Tiger and Turtle. The Chinese Dragon represents power and talent, so brilliant people are often referred to as dragons. Thanks to its extremely positive connotation, the dragon, which is a symbol of emperors, has become by extension the symbol of Chinese culture. The Chinese dragon as a symbol of power was often depicted on generals’ uniforms, but only the emperor had the 9 Chinese dragons depicted on his uniforms embodying supreme harmonious power. ?

the 9 chinese dragons

?Tian-long (or t’ien-lung, 天龍, means “Sky Dragon“, “Celestial Dragon“). It is a divine Chinese dragon in Chinese mythology which is also considered a star in Chinese astrology. True to the meaning of its name, Tianlong spends his entire life in the heavens. He guards the palaces of the gods as well as their treasures. Tianlong is known to pull the chariots of the gods. It serves as a courier for the Chinese deities and carries them to the place of their choice, no matter the distance, Tianlong is able to reach it. It symbolizes spiritual elevation.

Tian long dragon Sky Celestial
Tian Long, 天龙 by Jia Hao (Artstation)

?Shen-long (or shen-lung, 神龍, means “spiritual dragon“). It is a Chinese dragon with azure scales in Chinese mythology. It fertilizes the earth by making the rain fall during its walks on the clouds. However, the wind and the rain it produces can also be a source of disaster, which is why the Chinese feared it as much as they worshipped it. The Shenlong Dragon is an Imperial Dragon, it has five legs and it has a special place on the splendid robes, ceremonial clothing and insignia of the Chinese emperors.

shen long dragon

?Di-long (or ti-lung, 地龍), means “Earth Dragon“. It is a Chinese Land Dragon, one of the most powerful in the world. Also called “Underground Dragon”, its mission is to direct the various rivers. It stays in the sky during the summer and spends the autumn in the sea. According to some stories, the Dragon Dilong is the female equivalent of the Shenlong dragon. The mating between Dilong and Shenlong is the equivalent of the myths about the primitive creation between heaven and earth. These Chinese dragons symbolize the union between these two elements, it provides mortals with water and healthy air.

di long dragon

?Fu-zang long (or fu-ts’ang-lung, 伏藏龍), means “Dragon Guardian of Treasures“. The Fucanglong Dragon is a creature from the Chinese underworld that guards buried treasures and underground, whether natural or artificial. It is said that volcanoes are created when it rises from the earth to return to the sky. Fucanglong is also known to possess a magical pearl which is its most precious possession. Fucanglong is not necessarily evil, but because of its status as a dragon of the underworld, it presents itself as a cruel and apathetic dragon.

Fu-zang long dragon

?Yinglong (or ying-lung 應龍) means “Reactive Dragon“. This Chinese Winged Dragon is a rain deity in ancient Chinese mythology. The Yinglong Dragon is described as the oldest and only type of Chinese dragon with wings. Formerly known as the Winged Dragon, Yinglong is said to have lost its wings after killing the demon Kua Fu, responsible for the drought. Even without being able to fly, he still had the power to summon rain by answering the prayers of the people who graciously named him the Reactive Dragon.

Yinglong dragon

?Qiulong (or qíulóng 虬龙) means “Horned Dragon“. It is one of the dragons considered to be the most powerful beings in the world. Known for its physical and fire power, which is said to far surpass that of many other dragons. Because of its power, the Qiulong Dragon is responsible for protecting relics and sacred objects from deadly intruders. It stabilizes the movement of continents to prevent islands and countries from falling into ruins. It is therefore more likely to be found below the strata of the planet rather than above it.

qiulong dragon

?Panlong (or p’an-lung 蟠龙) meaning “Wrapped Dragon“. The Dragon Panlong is an aquatic creature resembling a jiaolong 蛟龍 “River Dragon; Crocodile” in Chinese mythology. It symbolizes an ancient motif in Chinese art, and is also a proper name. These Chinese dragons are known to live in the lakes of the East.

Panlong dragon

?Huanglong (or Huánglóng 黃龍) means Yellow Dragon. The divine creature emerged from the Luo River to communicate to men the basics of writing through the legendary emperor Fuxi (Fu Hsi). That day, he filled a hole in the sky made by the monster Gong Gong. His waking, sleeping and breathing determined the day and night, the seasons and the weather. The Huanglong Dragon is known for its erudite knowledge. He reigns over the Si Xiang, celestial creatures of the Chinese constellation (White Tiger, Black Turtle, Azure Dragon and Vermilion Bird), he stands in the center of the four beasts. Huanglong is the incarnation of the Earth element in the five Chinese elements (Wu Xing).

Huanglong dragon

It is sometimes said that the legendary yellow emperor turned into a dragon that looked like his emblem and ascended to heaven. As the Chinese consider him to be their ancestor, they sometimes refer to themselves as “the children of the dragon“. This legend has also contributed to the use of the Chinese dragon as a symbol of imperial power. In East Asian culture, the yellow dragon is the fifth symbol completing the Sixiang (four symbols). This deity is the center of the cosmos and represents the earth element, the quintessential Chinese, as well as the changing of the seasons.

?Longwang (or Lóngwáng 龙王) means “Dragon King“. The Chinese Dragon Kings reign over the four seas, those of the east, south, west and north. They are the masters of the dragons, considered to be the most physically powerful, they have no equivalent in terms of firepower. Each of the four Dragon Kings is associated with a color and a mass of water corresponding to one of the four cardinal directions on China’s natural borders.

Longwang dragon

The Four Dragon Kings are also the largest of the dragons, with a body length of 350 meters and an incredibly titanic weight of 1,500,000 tons. Most of the Dragon Kings are in fact so big that they can grab a small mountain in their claws. Here are the colors of the four Dragon Kings of China :

1- The Azure Dragon, or Blue-Green Dragon, is the Dragon King of the East, and is the essence of spring. His proper name is Ao Guang, and he is the defender of the East China Sea.
2- The Red Dragon is the dragon king of the south, and he is the essence of summer. He is the protector of the South China Sea and his proper name is Ao Qin.
3- The White Dragon is the Dragon King of the West and is the essence of autumn. He is the protector of Qinghai Lake.
4- The Black Dragon, also called “Dark Dragon”, is the dragon king of the north and is the essence of winter. Its proper names are Ao Shun or Ao Ming, and its body of water is Lake Baikal.

The 9 Sons of the Dragon

The Nine Sons of the Dragon (龍生九子) are creatures belonging to Chinese mythology. They are found as protective beings on most imperial or religious buildings throughout the Asian world (China, Japan, Vietnam, Korea). They are also sometimes represented in the form of nine dragons each holding a pearl in their claws. The 9 Sons of the Dragon are different from each other both in appearance and character.

the 9 sons of the dragon

The expression “the dragon has nine sons” (龍生九子) already existed during the Ming Dynasty (明朝), when Emperor Ming XiaoZong (明孝宗) asked Li DongYang (李東陽), a scholar employed at the palace, what their names were. Li DongYang did not know, but to satisfy the emperor, he proposed a list of fantastic creatures with auspicious attributes present in ancient texts and decorative arts. In spite of their nicknames of dragon, the collection “HuaiLu TangJi” (懷麓堂集) specifies that: “the nine sons are not dragons, but each one has his talent”:

1- Qiuniu (囚牛) – Qiuniu is the eldest of the nine sons of the Chinese dragon. He is the sweetest, very talented, he loves the art of music. According to legend, Qiuniu has a dragon head and a snake body with excellent ears that can distinguish most sounds. Traditionally, the Chinese like to carve the figure of Qiuniu on the head of Chinese violins, as well as on many ethnic minority musical instruments.

Qiuniu dragon

2- Yazi (睚眥) – Yazi is the second oldest of the nine sons of the Chinese dragon, and he has the head of a dragon but the body of a jackal. He is very fierce and warlike, he is a god of war in ancient China. For this reason, the ancients often engraved the figure of the Dragon Yazi on their weapons, because the emperors believed that Yazi could annihilate all evil spirits.
3- Chaofeng (嘲風) – Chaofeng is the third of the nine sons of the Chinese dragon. Although more like a beast, Chaofeng loves adventure, risk and watching from a high place. Legend has it that Chaofeng has the power to cause earthquakes, tsunamis and many other disasters, but that he himself is a symbol of good fortune. On the ledges of Chinese palaces, Chaofeng can be admired showing his greatness and bringing his blessing to the passers-by.
4- Pulao (蒲牢) – The fourth of the nine sons of the Chinese dragon is called Pulao, whose body is extremely supple. Pulao likes to roar and has an extremely powerful voice. In China, almost all large bells are decorated with the figure of Pulao, which means that the sound of the bell is intense and resounds over long distances.

pu lao dragon

5- Suanni (狻猊) – Suanni is the fifth of the nine sons of the Chinese dragon. He looks like a lion and looks fierce and tough. However, he prefers to sit quietly and enjoy the fireworks. That is why the figure of Suanni is often decorated on censers in temples.
6- Bixi (贔屭) – Bixi is the sixth of the nine sons of the Chinese dragon. Looking like a huge turtle, he has exceptional strength and can carry heavy objects. Many statues of Bixi are placed under tombstones.
7- Bi’an (狴犴) – Bi’an is the seventh of the nine sons of the Chinese dragon and looks like a tiger. He is an excellent debater with a great sense of justice. People always decorate prison doors with Bi’an to show the sense of justice and deterrence.
8- Fuxi (伏羲) – The eighth of the nine sons of the Chinese dragon is Fuxi, who has the head of a lion and the body of a dragon. He is a graceful being who feeds on literature and calligraphy. The figure of Fuxi is always carved on the sides of the stelae, around the tombstones.
9- Chiwen (螭吻) – Chiwen is the youngest of the nine sons of the Chinese dragon and has a dragon head and a fish body. Legend has it that he was the god of rain and therefore could extinguish fire. On the ridges of most Chinese palaces, one can often see a pair of Chiwen’s decorations, hoping to prevent fire.

chi wen dragon

Yang Shen (楊慎), poet of the Ming Dynasty, gives a slightly different list in “Sheng’An WaJi” (升庵外集), an unofficial anthology of Sheng’An :

Bi Xi (贔屭)
Chi Wen (螭吻) or “ChiWei” (鴟尾/owl tail)
Pu Lao (蒲牢)
Bi An (狴犴)
Tao Tie (饕餮)
Ba Xia (??) or (蚣蝮)
Ya Zi (睚眦)
Suan Ni (狻猊)
Jiao Tu (椒图)

9 sons of dragon wall

The number “nine” is special in China because it is the largest number among the others, and Chinese dragons are frequently associated with the number 9. For example, a Chinese dragon is commonly described by nine attributes, which is why there are nine shapes. The Wall of Nine Dragons (九龍壁) is a wall of nine different dragons, and is found in Chinese imperial palaces and gardens. Because the “nine” is considered the emperor’s number, only the highest officials were allowed to wear so many on their robes, while those of lower rank were allowed to wear only eight or five.

Dragon in Chinese Zodiac

The Dragon in the Chinese Zodiac occupies the 5th position, the Dragon is the most powerful of the signs. The dragon symbolizes traits such as dominance, ambition, authority, dignity and ability. Dragons prefer to live by their own rules and, if left to their own devices, they usually succeed. They are motivated, are not afraid of challenges and are willing to take risks. They are passionate about everything they do and they do it big. Unfortunately, this passion and enthusiasm can leave Dragons exhausted and, interestingly, unsatisfied.

dragon in chinese zodiac

Although Dragons often help others, they rarely ask for help. Others are attracted to Dragons, especially because of their colorful personalities, but deep down, Dragons are lonely. This may be because they are more successful when they work alone. Their preference for solitude can be seen as arrogance or vanity. Dragons have a temperament that can quickly escalate and become inflamed. ?

Chinese Zodiac Dragon Years

The Years of the Chinese Dragon are 1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012, 2024, 2036… It takes place every 12 years. The Year of the Dragon is the fifth in the 12-year cycle of the Chinese zodiac. If you were born in one of these years, then you are a Dragon. ?

chinese zodiac dragon years

A myth tells that the Emperor of Jade organized a competition by declaring that the order of the signs of the Chinese zodiac would be decided by the order of arrival of the animals in his palace. The Dragon came in fifth place. The years in which one shares the same animal sign and the same element are repeated every 60 years. The five elements of the Chinese zodiac are metal (gold), wood, water, fire and earth. It is said that the signs and elements of animals at birth determine the characteristics of people.

Chinese New Year Dragon Symbol

The Dragon is an important symbol in China, it is omnipresent in Chinese culture. We also know that the Chinese Dragon symbolizes wisdom, power and wealth, and that it brings good luck to people. Therefore, the presence of the Chinese Dragon has been indispensable during Chinese festivals since ancient times. Thanks to the spread of Chinese culture all over the world, the presence of the Chinese Dragon at New Year’s Day has been introduced to all corners of the world where overseas Chinese people gather. It has become a true symbol of Chinese tradition. ?

chinese new year dragon symbol

Chinese Dragon Dance Meaning

The Chinese Dragon Dance is a traditional form of dance in Chinese culture. The dragon represents power, wisdom and wealth. Like the lion’s dance, it is most often practiced at festivals. It is believed that the Chinese dragon dance drives away evil spirits and all the bad luck associated with them, and instead brings luck and fortune. This is why the dragon dance is very popular during Chinese New Year as well as other auspicious occasions such as weddings and other festivities.

chinese dragon dance meaning

During the Chinese dragon dance, a team of dancers carry the dragon on sticks. The lead dancers lift, plunge, push and sweep the dragon’s head, which may contain animated elements controlled by another dancer. It is sometimes rigged to spit smoke with pyrotechnic devices. The team of dancers mimics the supposed movements of the Chinese dragon in a sinuous and undulating manner. The dragon’s body is made of fabric and bamboo and can vary in length, some up to 100 meters long, and is held by many people. Today, most dragons are danced by 9 people. ?

dragon dance new year chinese

Musical accompaniment during the Chinese dragon dance is often provided by a team of musicians, who play traditional drums, cymbals and gongs. The Chinese Dragon Dance is one of the highlights of Chinese New Year celebrations taking place in Chinatown around the world. The Chinese often use the term “descendants of the dragon” as a sign of ethnic identity.

dragon chinese dance

It is said that the longer the Chinese dragon stays in the dance, the more luck it will bring to the community. By the way, if you want to learn how to draw the Chinese dragon, it’s quite simple and fun.

Dragon Boat Festival in China

The Dragon Boat Festival in China (or Longzhou Jie) was originally organized in honor of the poet and statesman Qu Yuan (circa 340-278 BC). Minister of State Chu ended his life by jumping into the Miluo River, which was his dramatic response to his exile following a slanderous attack on his character by a rival politician. Boats were launched in search of his body, but to no avail, so his supporters threw rice balls (zongzi) into the waters to honor his memory.

dragon boat festival in china

To further commemorate the tragedy, a dragon boat race is held on the river each year. This practice then spread to other rivers in China, and quickly took on a broader dimension, that of calming the dragon that brings rain. As a result, dragon boats usually have a dragon’s head on their bow and a large dragon’s tail at the stern. Dragon boat racing is now a colorful part of the Duanwu festival and is usually held on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month.

The legacy lives on. Chinese dragons may only be mythological creatures, but they are very important to the Chinese people and the impact of this cultural phenomenon is considerable. Historically, Chinese dragons have served as important symbols with a variety of mostly positive meanings. Understanding Chinese dragons allows you to gain a better understanding of traditional Chinese culture.

We have just gone around the subject, we could go into much more detail, but that’s for another time. If you want to create a warm and relaxing atmosphere in your home, discover our collection of Dragon Incense Holders.

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