What’s in a Dragon?

Today is St. George’s day and it is all about dragons.

My son joined the scout parade yesterday in town, as St. George is also the patron saint of scouting.

Google’s image today for St. George’s Day

Dragons, my son told me, in the west, are always evil. “They breathe fire, Mum!” They are monstrous. They are to be defeated.

Painting by Pere Nisart

Painting by Pere Nisart (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I told him, however, in China, dragons carry a completely different concept. For a start, they don’t breathe fire.

Chinese dragons (龙 ,pronounced as lóng) are benevolent, creators of wellbeing. They are mighty, bringing fortune and prosperity. Chinese dragons are auspicious creatures with dignity.

Chinese dragon

Chinese dragon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Chinese people like to refer themselves toDescendants of the Dragon. When I was a teenager in the 80s, a folk song called ‘Descendants of the Dragon’ (龙的传人) was very popular and it captured our hearts. It was almost the patriotic song of our time. The songwriter is Hou Dejian (侯德健), the guy wearing glasses in the video.

The song was beautifully written. It is a song about ‘Dragon’, but is very sweet, tender and melodious.

Here is the link for the song:

‘Dragon’ is also used in Chinese names. If it is not a positive word, it would not be one of the most favourite words for names, especially a boy’s name.

You may know these 2 famous Chinese actors: Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee.

Their stage names in Chinese all carry a ‘Dragon’: Jackie Chan is 成龙 (pronounce as chéng lóng), which means ‘Becoming a dragon.’

Jackie Chan at the Cannes Film festival.

Bruce Lee’s Chinese name is 李小龙  (lǐ xiǎolóng), which means ‘Little Dragon’.

Bruce Lee: Quest of the Dragon

Bruce Lee: Quest of the Dragon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What do you think of the Chinese dragon and western dragon?

Has this article made you more aware of the different concepts of Dragon in different cultures? 

Please leave your message and let me know. Thank you!

My Related Post:

Magnificent display at Buckingham Palace

9 thoughts on “What’s in a Dragon?

  1. rhmay

    China is rich in dinosaur fossils. That’s presumably how the dragon myth started. In fact the early history of paleontology is peppered with interestingly incorrect interpretations of fossils, such as the Snake Stones of Whitby. Stone age burials are often found to contain fossils as grave goods.

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