Keywords: Longevity, richness, prosperity, infinity, wisdom, power, and fiery
Depicted as a long, snake-like creature with four claws (or five for the imperial dragon), the dragon has long been a potent symbol of auspicious power in Chinese folklore. This type of dragon, however, is sometimes depicted as a creature constructed of many animal parts. It might have the fins of some fish, or the horns of a stag. The Naga, a serpentine dragon common to all cultures influenced by Hinduism, is often hooded like a cobra and may have several heads depending on their rank. They usually have no arms or legs but those with limbs resemble the Chinese dragon. The Japanese dragon Ryu, similar to Chinese dragons, have three claws instead of four. They are usually benevolent, associated with water, and may grant wishes. In the Philippines, the Bakunawa appears as a gigantic serpent that lives in the sea. Ancient natives believed that the Bakunawa caused the moon or the sun to disappear during an eclipse. It is said that during certain times of the year, the Bakunawa arises from the ocean and proceeds to swallow the moon whole. To keep the Bakunawa from completely eating the moon, the natives would go out of their houses with pots and pans in hand and make a noise barrage in order to scare the Bakunawa into spitting out the moon back into the sky. Some say that the Bakunawa is known to kill people by imagining their death and remote in eye contact. In Vietnam, dragons’ bodies curve lithely, in sine shape, with 12 sections, symbolising 12 months in the year. They are able to change the weather, and are responsible for crops. On the dragon’s back are little, uninterrupted, regular fins. The head has a long mane, beard, prominent eyes, crest on nose, but no horns. The jaw is large and opened, with a long, thin tongue; they always keep a châu (gem/jewel) in their mouths (a symbol of humanity, nobility and knowledge). In Welsh mythology, after a long battle (which the Welsh King Vortigern witnesses) a red dragon defeats a white dragon; Merlin explains to Vortigern that the red dragon symbolizes the Welsh, and the white dragon symbolizes the Saxons – thus foretelling the ultimate defeat of the English by the Welsh. The ddraig goch appears on the Welsh national flag. In Celtic Mythology Ben Vair in Scotland takes its name from the dragon that used to live in a great hollow in the face of a mountain known as Corrie Lia. The dragon was tricked into walking along a pontoon bridge with hidden spikes.