Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Chinese Zodiac: Dragón

Growing up, my relatives and family friends were always asking me in which year I was born. I would tell them and inevitably they would say, "Ahhh, tiger...hmm." It was a very ambiguous reaction. On the other hand, from the little I knew, I sensed that that being born in the year of the dragon was definitely a positive thing. In poking around for this entry, I found out that, yes, being a dragon is desirable.

1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000

In many parts of Asia people actually try to have children in the year of the dragon. In China, the dragon is considered a powerful but benevolent creature. It is not the fire-breathing menace to society as in Western society. In the East, the dragon is almost like a God, hence the incorporation of the dragon in the Lunar New Year's celebrations. In fact, I caught a part of "Quest for Dragons" on the History Channel and learned that the Chinese and Native Americans have surprisingly similar views on dragons-- both cultures respect the dragon and see it as a god of rain and the bringer of prosperity. The dragon occupies a very important postion in Chinese (and Asian) mythology. It shows up in history, architecture, art, literature, religion and music. In fact, according to Vietnamese mythology, the Vietnamese are descendants of the dragon.
The earliest traditions of the Vietnamese people...are associated with the Hung kings who ruled the kingdom of Van-lang. The Hung kings claimed descent from Lac Long Quan, "Lac Dragon Lord," a hero who came to the Hong River plain in what is now northern Vietnam from his home in the sea; he subdued all evil demons in the land and civilized the people, teaching them to cultivate rice and to wear clothes. Lac Long Quan returned to the sea after instructing the people to call on him if they were ever in distress. Eventually, a monarch from the north, China, entered the land and, finding it without a king, claimed it for himself. When the people cried out to Lac Long Quan for deliverance from this alien ruler, he heard them and came back from the sea; he kidnapped Au Co, the wife of the intruder, and took her to the top of Mount Tan-vien, which overlooks the Hong River as it enters the plains. Failing to retrieve his wife, the northern king departed in despair. Au Co eventually gave birth to the first of the Hung kings, and Lac Long Quan returned to his home in the sea after again promising to return if needed. Lac Long Quan, a prince of the sea, and Au Co, a princess of the mountains, are regarded by the Vietnamese as the progenitors of their race."
From Keith Weller Taylor's The Birth of Vietnam.
If that ain't enough, how's this personal characteristics:
The Dragon is one of the most powerful and lucky Signs of the Chinese Zodiac. Its warm heart makes the Dragon's brash, fiery energy far more palatable. This is a giving, intelligent and tenacious Sign that knows exactly what it wants and is determined to get it. Dragons possess a certain natural, charming charisma that ensures they can always influence their peers and often find themselves the center of attention in social situations. This Sign is truly blessed, too; Dragons are considered to be very lucky in love! The Dragon's friends are always keen to hear what this firebrand has to say and when it comes to dispensing advice, the Dragon has the floor.

Its ego can get in the Dragon's way, but even so, this larger-than-life creature has a knack for initiating projects and keeping the troops motivated. According to Dragons, it's their natural born right to lead the way -- because who else could do it so surely and so well? As lucky as they are, Dragons have a good chance of achieving considerable material wealth during their lifetimes, although it isn't mere money that's this Sign's main motivation. Power is what the Dragon wants and truly believes it deserves. Dragons are quite the opportunists, forever searching for ways in which to consolidate their considerable power. Contrary to all this strength and fire, a weakened Dragon is a sad sack, a creature that refuses to take defeat with even a modicum of grace.

The role of leader is the only one the Dragon wants, the better from which to give orders and be king of the hill. They make solid leaders, too, knowing instinctively what needs to be done to stay on top. Crossing the Dragon is never a good idea -- this beast can singe! A valuable life lesson for this clever creature would be to absorb the principles of flexibility, compassion and tolerance. Being high and mighty can serve to inspire others, but it also keeps Dragons from living their lives to the fullest. If Dragons can learn to balance their quest for success with an appreciation for the little things, their life will be more than worthwhile.
From here.

Supposedly, dragons are compatible with rats and monkeys, but should avoid oxen, rabbits, dogs and other dragons. You dragons out there are in very good company (surprise surprise). Famous dragons include Joan of Arc, Julius Caesar, Abe Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., Charles Darwin, Pelé, Ronaldo, Bruce Lee, Sandra Bullock, Keanu Reeves, Reese Witherspoon and a gaggle of Lord of the Rings folks (Dominic Monaghan, Orlando Bloom and Andy Serkis).


cshinpark@hotmail.com said...

Have you checked out chinesefortunecalender.com??? It's fun and light. But seriously, I've been intrigued by this stuff for years...yes, you have a "believer-follower" over here. Interestingly, Mr. Octopus is covering the other side of the science spectrum.
Happy New Year! Carol

Anonymous said...

I am a Dragon and everything written here holds true for me. Spooky. But how can I be the same person as everyone in my college class?