Compared to the view of European dragons as malevolent and warlike, Chinese dragons are considered to be benevolent and just.  Typically depicted as long and serpentine, they are associated with power and fortune.  In fact, parents often hope their child is born during the dragon years of the Chinese zodiac.  In addition, during the Lunar New Year, homeowners believe it is good luck to have people born during the dragon years in their home.  The dragon has been such a powerful symbol that the Emperors of China would use their image to represent imperial authority.

It is uncertain when Chinese people first started worshipping dragons.  The earliest depictions of the deities can be traced back to the Yangshao culture, a Neolithic culture from the fifth millennium BC.  Furthermore, in 300 BC, Chang Qu, a historian, found several bones in Sichuan that he documented as dragon fossils.

Originally associated with water and weather-related phenomenon, dragons are also rumored to have an almost unlimited amount of supernatural powers.  Their supposed eminence has resulted in the erection of several dragon temples in which sacrifices and religious ceremonies were conducted to appease the deities.  Even to this day, festivals, especially during the Lunar New Year, will include a depiction of a dragon as a way to accumulate good luck.

Bryan Manichanh

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