The Chinese Dragon has a colourful history. The emblem of guardianship and vigilance, it was consecrated in the earliest religion of the Chinese people. In ancient days, the dragon was regarded as a sacred animal, and used to be the imperial emblem of Chinese emperors. It is the first of the four Divine Creatures to Chinese, the others being the unicorn, the phoenix, and the tortoise. Unlike the evil dragon the West, the Chinese Dragon is a beneficent and gracious creature and is worshipped as the divine ruler of Lakes, Rivers and Seas. It is the powerful yet gentle Loong that brings rain to the earth, hasten the crops and cools the toiling framer. It is one of the most popular of Chinese art motifs, being sculptured on stone pillars of Chinese temples and embroidered on beautiful gold and silk tapestries.
As imagined by the Chinese people, the dragon is a combination of more than one animals. The dragon has the head of a camel, the horns of a deer, fiery eyes and a long beard. Its ears are like those of a cow, its paw like the tiger’s and its claws sharp like and eagle’s. Its neck is serpentine. It has the belly of a frog and the scales of a carp. The Dragon first appeared in the sky, legend tells us, while an heir to the throne was born, and the country was blessed with peace and prosperity for many generations thereafter.
In the parades the Chinese people have on New Year’s, the dragon performs its gyrations in pursuits of a costumed figure who holds aloft a pole with a ball on the end called the Precious Pearl. The creature’s movement and tempo are controlled by this leader who manipulated the pearl according to plan, accompanied by drums and gongs. It is a wonderful celebration which cannot be missed. According to the Chinese calendar, the Chinese dragon is the animal for those who were born on this year and 12 years before or afterwards. The year you were born is believed to influence your personality. Thus, for the dragons, they are soft hearted, healthy, respected, energetic and eccentric. People who are born under the sign of Dragon, will give into love, but will not give up their independence. Because they have quick, sometimes vengeful tempers, their partners need to be tough skinned.