17 January 2017 by Roy Preece

Everyone loves to see the fantastic Dancing Dragons that celebrate the Chinese New Year. Why dragons?

To the Chinese, dragons are noble and useful creatures; they are not at all like the evil monsters found in western culture. From earliest times the Chinese have believed that dragons can bring good luck to their lives. As the different kingdoms of China were united they adopted the dragon as a national symbol; and so the ancient Chinese identified themselves as "the descendants of the dragon".

These mythical creatures were believed to control all things to do with water – rain, thunderstorms, floods, tornadoes, rivers and bridges. The cradle of Chinese civilisation were the river plains of the Yangtze River and its tributary the Han River. These areas suffered from frequent severe floods, so the goodwill of the dragons was thought to be essential. The Chinese thought that making big models of dragons and making them move in fantastic dances as though they were alive would attract and flatter the dragons.

Today these Dragon Dances are still held at Chinese New Year when people believe they will bring good luck – and they are a lot of fun too! In professional dances the large dragons may be are as long as 24 metres and are carried on poles by professional teams of dancers who perform many complicated movements, all in time with each other and accompanied with beating drums and noisy firecrackers.

Snowflake has a 3 metre long dancing dragon made specially for children. Her name is Snowflake too! We welcome everyone who comes to our various events and school activities to have a chance to play with our lovely dragon! Or you can follow this link to make your own dancing dragon at home!

Su Yen pictures with a group of children and Dancing Dragon in the Ashmolean Musuem at Land of Dragon event