Appearing in children’s books, decorating the shields of warriors, and serving as high school sporting teams’ mascots, the dragon is a well-known character that has made its way throughout history. There is a fascination with this creature of mythical proportions that the public has kept close to their hearts for so long whether it is Puff the Magic Dragon or Eragon, the dragon is a highly recognizable figure. In this article, we will explore how dragons fit into a variety of cultures.
Throughout the pages of books, illustrations, and movies, the dragon is often depicted as a large serpent that possesses a power that could destroy a village within minutes. Its reptile-like qualities are also said to hold a wealth of spiritual or magical properties. A variety of cultures have embraced the concept or vision of a dragon, sometimes incorporating the image into their religious beliefs and basis of significant festivals and celebrations.
When it comes to the common portrayal of a dragon, they are often seen hatching from eggs, springing forth as rather large creatures that are covered in scales. Sometimes, the dragon will possess large eyes, which plays an important role in some circles. Dragons may or may not also showcase wings on their backs, which could be quite small to enormously imposing. When taking a look at the legs attached to a dragon, some are portrayed with a range, including two, four, and sometimes with none at all. Early European literature showcases their dragons with more than four in some texts.
The modern depictions of a dragon highlight the creatures as being rather large in size, but have evolved throughout time in concept. For example, early European writings describe some dragons as being no larger than the common bear. Some literary interpretations present dragons much smaller, such as a few instances where they are about the same size as a fluttering butterfly.
A range of international legends utilizes the image and presence of dragons and creatures that possess similar features. For example, Chinese dragons or ones that hail from the eastern part of the world are often depicted as kind, where the Europeans mostly viewed the dragon as a threat. This was not the only culture to look upon the dragon as a dangerous creature. Persian mythology and other cultures saw dragons as malevolent as well.
The image of the dragon is quite popular throughout China, where they stand alongside the phoenix as a symbol to represent their emperors. Many popular festivals showcase their participants wearing dragon costumes or signs of the creature. They are often seen as a force that plays a role in religion and culture, possessing major spiritual meaning. For example, some Native American cultures also look upon the dragon as a connection to the primal forces associated with the universe and nature.
Dragons are sometimes respected for the wisdom they are thought to carry with them. They also stand for symbols for longevity and are sometimes viewed as being wiser than humans. Their wisdom is also translated as being influential when it comes to magic or harnessing abnormal or supernatural powers. Usually, dragons are also attached to water, rain, and rivers, sometimes being displayed next to such in paintings and other art pieces. Depending on the culture, dragons may have the ability to speak, but mostly can communicate with all animals.
Today, dragons can be seen making appearances in popular video games and other fantasy role-playing activities. They have certainly become a significant part of worldwide culture and legends, as it is not hard to come in contact with its image on a regular basis.