The Year of the Dragon 2024

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year of the dragon

Chinese Year of the Dragon
Hello, and welcome to Storynory!
You’re listening to Jana.

May I wish you a very Happy Chinese New Year 2024!

This year Chinese and many Asian nations are celebrating the year of the Dragon.

All over the world, including London’s Chinatown, you can see Chinese processions with banging drums, clashing symbols and a dragon dance performance. The dragon is made of paper and cloth and held up aloft on bamboo sticks.

The Chinese word for a dragon is Long. As you can hear, Long is a very lo-ong and important sounding word.

Being born in the year of the Dragon is a good luck omen. Chinese dragons are usually lucky and good, unlike the Western ones which are poisonous and evil. Instead of breathing fire, they often live at the bottom of seas or oceans. And they often crop up in Chinese stories.

For example, in the Chinese epic, The Journey to the West, the hero, who is a magical monkey, visits the Dragon King of the East sea in his underwater palace. The monkey demands that the dragon should give him a powerful weapon. Eventually he takes a rod - like a long stick. The monkey can adjust it to a tiny needle and carry it behind his ear. Then, when he wants to fight he can extend it into a giant rod of iron weighing 17,55o pounds!

So Chinese dragons are quite watery creatures, and they often help make the rains fall - which of course is very lucky for farmers and everyone who likes to eat food!

One winged dragon, called Ying Long, used his tail to make channels for water to run through rice fields.

This story also explains the rain making abilities of dragons.

A long time ago, there was a great drought in China. 10 suns shone in the sky and dried up the land so that nothing would grow. The people were praying for rain. But the God of heaven was too busy with all his royal duties to notice the little people on earth. What did he care if they didn’t have enough rain to make their crops grow?

But the four dragons of the Eastern Sea took pity on poor thirsty humanity. They rose up out of the waters and flew to speak to the God.

“Your greatness, the humans down on Earth are waiting and waiting for your rain to fall and bring life to the crops.”

And the God of the skies replied:

“Oh yes, you’re right, thanks for the reminder. I’m busy today, but I’ll do it tomorrow.”

The dragons thanked his majesty and returned to their underwater palaces beneath the Eastern Seas.

That was a good deed they had done. Or so they thought.

But his Imperial Majesty was busy the next day too. And he totally forgot his promise to make the rain fall.

Soon the dragons, as they flew over the earth, realised that he had failed to keep his word. And so taking pity on the humans, they decided to take action. They gulped up huge amounts of sea water and when they flew over the earth, they spewed it all out onto the land like a great flood. The rain fell in great quantities, bringing life to the crops and the people.

Now you might think that they had done a very good thing indeed. But the Lord of the Seas was not happy.

“Those dragons stole plenty of my water!” he grumbled. And off he went to the God of the sky to lodge his complaint.

When the Jade Emperor heard the tale, he was angry, very angry indeed.

“What impudence! It is my job, and my job alone, to make it rain, or not, as I please!” he raged.

And in a fit of anger he sent an imperial army to arrest the four dragons and bury them under four mountains.

Poor dragons. They only wanted to help - and see how they were rewarded!

But the story does not end there, because Chinese dragons have the power of transformation, and the four dragons turned themselves into four rivers that flowed down from the mountains and ran all the way to their homes in the Eastern Sea. And that is why the world has rivers that flow down and bring life and water.
And I’d like to wish you all a very Happy and Prosperous Chinese Year New Year! Especially you Dragons!
From me Jana, bye for now!