It's the coolest Chinese New Year of all: The Year of the Dragon!! To celebrate, here's a few little dragon tidbits thanks to 'The Monsters Project Book' by Steve Skidmore and Steve Barlow:
The word 'dragon' comes from the ancient Greek word drakon meaning 'sharp sighted one'. This later came to mean 'giant snake'.
In medieval times, dragons and serpents were called 'worms'.
Dragons of the West
In the western world and Africa, dragons are thought of as evil creatures. They are usually dangerous, fire breathing reptiles, that go around destroying land, killing people and demanding human sacrifices.
They are associated with demons and devils and are often the target for heroes to prove themselves by killing a dragon. The most famous dragon killer in western mythology is St. George. He saved the citizens of Sylene from a dragon that was terrorising the city. In return for killing the dragon, he demanded that the people of Sylene should become Christians.
There were different types of western dragons:
These were like flying serpents. they had no back legs and rested on their tails and front legs.
These were snake-like creatures who were accused of sucking herds of cattle dry before eating them.
These were miniature fire-breathing dragons. They tended to guard great hoards of treasure and lived in deep caves.
But, this is the CHINESE New Year, so how do the dragons of Asia shape up? Well, for starters, they are very different creatures to the dragons of western culture; Asian dragons are the good guys!
Dragons of the East
In Chinese mythology, dragons (known as lung) were thought of as being kindly and benevolent. They were associated with the gods and became the symbol of power for many Chinese emporers. There were many festivals and celebrations in honour of dragons and even today, the dragon holds a special place in Chinese New Year celebrations.
This dragon was the controller of all rivers and streams.
This dragon supported the mansions of the gods.
This dragon was the bringer of rain.
To help celebrate the Year of the Dragon, you can find plenty of T-shirts and other items with dragons on right here:
Year of the Dragon Tote Bag
Year of the Dragon Men's T-Shirt
Year of the Dragon Pendant
More dragon stuff:
Ruby Dragon Men's T-shirt
Ruby Dragon Tote Bag
Amethyst Dragon iPhone 3 Case
Amethyst Dragon Women's Long Sleeved Shirt
Jade Dragon Mousepad
Jade Dragon Dark T-Shirt
Jade Dragon Necklace