As many of you may know, today, January 23, 2012 marks the start of the year of the dragon. Here are some interesting facts about the year of the dragon and Chinese dragon mythology:
1) The dragon is the only virtual animal among the 12 Chinese zodiac animals.
2) People born in the year of dragon are said to be strong and ambitious; therefore, there is an expected increase in births this year for “dragon babies.” The dragon is roughly equivalent to the Western zodiac sign Aries.
3) In relation to other signs, dragons are compatible with chicken and bulls, but not with tigers, monkeys, and pigs.
4) In 1976, a dragon year, two major events occurred: the Tangshan earthquake and the death of Mao Zedong.
5) Chinese dragon is actually a combination of nine animals: the horns of a deer, the ears of a bull, the head of a camel, the eyes of a rabbit, the neck of a snake, the scales of a fish, the feet of a tiger, the belly of a clam, and the claws of an eagle.
6) According to Chinese legend, the dragon has nine sons, none of which are dragons. Each of the sons has distinctive characteristics. Read about them here.
7) There are five types of dragons in Chinese mythology: ones that guard the gods and emperors, ones that control wind and rain, ones that create rivers and seas, ones that guard hidden treasure and the first dragon (whose waking, sleeping and breathing determine day and night).
8) China was first united in a dragon year during the Qin dynasty.
9) In the past, only the emperor could use the imagery of a five-clawed dragon – on his robes or illustrations he owned. If anyone else wore a five-clawed dragon design, they were put to death. Five claws, as opposed to four, was considered a symbol of power.
10) Those born in the year of dragon should wear red underwear all year for 2012 – to bring good luck.
Happy Year of the Dragon!
Photo by L2F1 of Flickr.