Why has the Dragon become China’s auspicious animal?

“Dragon” is a mythical creature and lives with the beliefs of a group of people in East Asian territories, which will vary from region to region. Nevertheless, the most famous belief of Dragon that we cannot miss to talk about is the Dragon belief in China. Today, ACU PAY will solve the question why the “Dragon” has become China’s auspicious animal and the symbol of power in China.

The origin of the Dragon

The origins of the Chinese dragon have a history dating back thousands of years ago. Some of the oldest articles have been cited which were found in an ancient Chinese textbook called “I Ching” or “Book of Changes”.  In the legend of the Chinese, a dragon is regarded as like a god, while European legends consider a dragon as a dangerous animal that requires a  knight to slay it.

The outer appearance of the Chinese dragon or the dragon in eastern Asia is categorized in the reptile or snake family. It has no wing but can fly in the air. The dragon in China comes from a combination of 9 animals and can change its outer appearance. This reflects the multiculturalism that shaped society from various ethnic groups in China. The dragon in China is called Leng,Long, or Lung (龙 ), the pronunciation is different in each region.

Symbols and importances of the Dragon with Chinese culture

Chinese people believe that the dragon symbolizes strength, power, greatness, and masculinity. Therefore, the Chinese emperor was regarded as “the dragon who is the son of the sky.” Only the emperor can use the dragon pattern. For example, the pattern of the 5-nails dragon will only be used to decorate the items of Emperor and Crown Prince No. 1 – 2. For the next heir or nobleman of different levels, it will be classified by decorating dragons with different details.

Moreover, the dragon is a sacred animal related to rain and water sources. The ancient Chinese believed that its saliva would cause a magic crystal ball called “The Pearl of the Moon” and “The Pearl of Abundance” which destined the abundance of crops and cereals. The dragon blood that bled would infiltrate China’s land and become amber. When a dragon molts, it makes its horns glow, has great power, and shines light in the dark, similar to the belief in ginseng’s elixir of longevity. 

Thus, the Chinese believed that dragons were mythical gods that would bring about long life, prosperity, and good fortune.

The Dragon in works of art and architecture

Apart from the belief, the dragon also appears in every sect of Chinese fine art work such as paintings, architecture, sculpture, wares, or even in the pattern on the silk roll. The obvious example is the large number of dragon pattern engraving which appears in Gu Gong or Imperial Palace or Forbidden City to show the prestige and propitiousness to the owner and residents.

The Dragon and Unity

In addition to the symbol of greatness, the dragon also creates unity. The Chinese dragon is a god in heaven according to Chinese beliefs. It is like a symbol of the Chinese people. The Chinese around the world believe that they are descended from the dragon. (Lung Tik Chuan Ren)

Due to this belief, there are a lot of festivals related to the dragon such as Dragon Head Festival, Festival honoring the dragon god who destined a proper rain in the rainy season for abundant crops and cereals. 

As well as a Dragon Boat Race, a racing activity that has been held for more than two thousand years to strengthen the community’s relationship in teamwork and cooperation.

It can be seen that the dragon and the Chinese belief reflects a variety of roles of the dragon, including to symbolize the power, a cultural characteristic, or unity. It has become a charm of timeless belief that will be with the Chinese people of all time.

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