Chinese "Dragon" Culture



When it comes to "dragon", I believe everyone is familiar with it.Dragons are deeply rooted in Chinese culture, as the dragon is one of the most important creatures that can symbolize China. However, dragons are generally regarded as a symbol of evil and inauspiciousness in Western culture, so when Chinese people say that they are "descendants of the dragon", Westerners may not understand it. Therefore, understanding the differences between dragons in Chinese and Western cultures can better help us understand Chinese culture.




Chinese dragon

In China, the dragon is called lóng (dragon), and it is a legendary creature in Chinese mythology and Chinese folklore. In Chinese mythology, a lóng (dragon) has antlers, a camel's head, rabbit eyes, a snake neck, carp scales, eagle claws, tiger paws and bull ears. Dragons have traditionally symbolized powerful and auspicious forces, especially the control of water, rainfall, typhoons and floods. In Chinese culture, good and outstanding people are compared to dragons, while incompetent and unachievable people are compared to other undesirable creatures. Many Chinese proverbs and idioms refer to dragons and other undesirable creatures, such as "wàng zǐ chéng lóng"① and "dǎn xiǎo rú shǔ"②.(① means that you want your children to be as good as dragons.② means Timid like a mouse.)



  • 权力与权威

在中国古代,龙被视为皇室的象征,象征着天子,即皇帝。例如,皇帝的座位被称为“龙椅(lóng yǐ)”。神兽在中国古今都是权力与贵族的代表。
What does the dragon symbolize in China?
  • Power and authority
In ancient China, the dragon was regarded as a symbol of the royal, symbolizing the son of heaven, the emperor. For example, the emperor's seat is called "Dragon Chair (lóng yǐ)". Mythical beast are representatives of power and nobility in ancient and modern China.
  • 功成名就


  • success

In Chinese fairy tales, dragons can ascend to heaven,riding the clouds and driving the fog, representing upward and positive energy. That's why the dragon is a symbol of success, high achievement and prosperity in Chinese eyes.

  • 正义、善意、善良

对于中华民族来说,龙代表着正义。在 中国民间传说中,东海龙王的三儿子未经玉皇大帝(最高皇帝)的许可,就下雨给一个村庄,违反了天理。他之所以这样做,是因为他不忍心看着这片土地的干旱给当地人带来的一切。为了纪念他,人们设立了二月二节(èr yuè èr jié二月二节),这是 中国传统节日,在农历二月初二举行。它还有一个名字:龙台头(lóng tái tóu龙顶头)节,龙台头意为“龙抬头”。

  • Justiceandkindness

For the Chinese nation, the dragon represents justice. In Chinese folklore, the third son of the Dragon King of the East China Sea violated the laws of heaven by raining on a village without the permission of the Jade Emperor (the supreme emperor). He did this because he couldn't bear to watch what the drought in the land had done to the locals. To commemorate him, people set up February 2nd Festival (èr yuè èr jiéFebruary 2nd Festival), which is a traditional Chinese festival held on the second day of the second month of the lunar calendar. It also has a name: Longtaitou (lóng tái tóu龙抬头) festival. Longtaitou means "dragon raises its head".

  • 财运吉祥
  • Wealth is auspicious

Dragons are always associated with water in China. In Chinese legends, the Dragon King is believed to be the ruler of weather and water, such as rainfall, waterfalls, rivers and oceans. In ancient agricultural societies, abundant water sources often meant abundant grains, so dragons were also associated with abundant grains and a prosperous and comfortable life.




What does the dragon symbolize in the West?

In the West, the image of the dragon is quite different from that of the Chinese dragon. In Western culture, dragons are not good luck, but fire-breathing monsters. The western dragon is more of a villain, a savage monster, which makes the heroes who defeat and slay the dragon heroic. Just like in the Apocalypse, Satan appears as the great red dragon.



The difference between Chinese dragons and Western dragons is just a microcosm of the cultural differences between China and the West. Follow us to learn more interesting Chinese cultural knowledge!