Chinese Dragons


The following is a description of Chinese Dragons and their importance to the people. My friend first heard the tradition from his parents, specifically his mom who is Chinese. I have known this friend since elementary school. I knew that he had heard many stories about where his parents are from so I asked him to tell me about a few of them. I recorded this over the phone as he was very busy and couldn’t find a time to meet up (also COVID). This is a direct transcribed script of what was said in the story, with the various “umm’s” and “uhh’s” omitted.


“Ok so, there’s a common thing with Chinese Dragons. First off, they don’t have wings. Second, they have four legs and a head. And they are often associated holding balls in their left or right hand. They are normally made out of either wood or clay and they can be seen holding balls. The reason they are holding balls is because it represents the sun, or fire. And basically in China and in Chinese folklore the sun was seen as this omnipotent thing, or this overarching power. Because back in like, you know like f*****’ 200 AD no one knew what the sun was. So they’re like okay this thing provides good crops, it provides warmth and all these things so the Chinese people really respected this thing, the sun. And they’re like so one of the most important things in our history, the dragon, is going to be seen holding this thing, because they can harness the power of the sun. And it is associated with wisdom and intelligence. And it represents how the dragon is like the overarching thing of the chinese zodiac. So, ya that’s just a little thing about Chinese folklore.”


I always knew that dragons had importance in China but I didn’t know that they were seen as such powerful creatures. My friend described dragons as other cultures describe their deities, which I didn’t know was how they were viewed. I also thought it was interesting that they were depicted holding the sun. 

My friend heard all this from his mother, who I believe is 100% Chinese. I know the family doesn’t really have a lot of rituals or anything that they still perform from China (they’re actually all Christians), but I do know that the mother likes to let her kids know the culture that they came from. I don’t know what kind of significance the dragons might have in their life, or if it was just told as a story to the kids.