30 March 2014
Chinese Dragon Culture
by Yash Adukia
Dragon cultures exit in both the Eastern and Western world. Dragons are deeply rooted in Chinese culture, so Chinese often consider themselves, 'the descendants of the dragon.' In the Western, dragons can be found in many literatures and they look significantly different from the Chinese dragon. We will focus on the Chinese dragon here.
Nobody really knows where the dragon comes from. The dragon looks like a combination of many animals, such as a reptile, a snake, an alligator, and a lizard. Or it may be just a product from the imagination of Chinese people.
Chinese emperors think they are the real dragons and the sons of the heaven. Thus the beds they sleep on are called the dragon beds, the throne called the dragon seat, and the emperor's ceremonial dresses called the dragon robes. Also dragons can be seen on the buildings in the imperial palace. Dragon screens are an important part of this dragon culture. The dragon is a symbol of imperial power.
Traditionally the dragons are considered as the governors of rain falls in Chinese culture. They have the power to decide where and when to have rain falls. The kings of the water dragons live in the dragon palaces under the oceans.
The dragon also plays an important part in Chinese Festivals. The dragon dance has a long history, which was already a popular event during the Song Dynasty. The Dragon Boat Festival is almost purely dragon-related festival, which becomes popular international events now.
There are many Chinese stories about the dragon. There is even a very famous Chinese idiom, 'Lord Ye's Love of Dragons,' which means professed love of what one really fears. Here is the story behind the idiom. Lord Ye loved dragons deeply. He had dragons everywhere and he was thinking about dragons all the time. His love of dragons moved a real dragon, so the dragon came to visit him one day. When he saw the real dragon, he was frightened to death.