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Dragon Breathes Fire into Millennium


In 2000, the Year of the Dragon roared open the millennium, and comes around again in 2012.

Chinatown Parade Dragon

Chinatown Parade

The Dragon is the fifth animal in the Chinese Zodiac. He is the symbol of Majesty. People born in the Year of the Dragon, it is said, will be energetic, healthy and successful in their careers.

Though dragons traditionally inspire awe and fear in Chinese as well as Western mythology, they are considered to be benevolent by the Chinese.

The Chinese believe that dragons live in water or in the sky and legend has it that they can gather clouds, summon the wind and make rain. Because of these powers the dragon was the zodiacal sign most conducive to good crops, which of course depend upon fair weather.

In times of drought, it was a custom among farmers to hold parades and festivals in honor of the dragon so that he would bring needed rain. They would eat meat, because dragons liked meat, or swallow "jade," green vegetables, because jade was the dragon's favorite gem.

The dragon as a symbol of power, was taken by the emperors of the Ming and Ch'ing Dynasties as their exclusive symbol. Only emperors and members of the imperial family could wear robes with the dragon pictured on them. Only porcelain destined for the emperor, could depict dragons with five-taloned claws. Dragons with four talons denoted non-imperial ware. In fact emperors' robes were often referred to as "dragon clothes," and any vehicle used to transport the emperor was called the "dragon carriage."

The Chinese consider the Dragon to be a very auspicious sign.


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This page created February 2000