Loong 中国龙

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The definition of Loong

Loong is mythical creatures portrayed in ancient Chinese culture, with head of a horse, horns of a deer, ears of cattle, body of a snake, scales of a carp, claws of a hawk, palms of a tiger, with whiskers and beard but no wings, capable of altering itself in size, length, and color, highly mobile in water as well as among clouds. It is generally regarded as benevolent and the source of rain, thunder, and lightning.

Loong is a symbol of power, strength, and good luck for people who are worthy of it, in particular, ​Loong is spiritually linked to the Chinese. highly regarded as the Chinese national symbol. Chinese are proud of being called “descendants of Loong”.

In Chinese daily language, excellent and outstanding people are compared to a Loong, while incapable people with no achievements are compared with other, disesteemed creatures, such as a worm. A number of Chinese proverbs and idioms feature references to a Loong, such as “Hoping one’s son will become a Loong” (望子成龙; wàng zǐ chéng lóng).

Loong is the symbol of China, and we call ourselves the descendants of Loong. As a Chinese, if you do not know what Loong is, or you do not love Loong, you are not a real Chinese! While dragon, in the West, is the symbol of evil. In Revelation, The great was hurled down — that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole astray.

Differences in Ethnic history, faith, and religion, manners, and customs, ways of thinking, lifestyles and religious styles between Eastern Civilization and western culture, lead to a huge diversity of the meaning and implication between the Loong and dragon.

The development and perfection of Chinese Loong culture have been going on in the historic process of Chinese civilization. Loong culture has a so important position in Chinese traditional civilization that every person who works to learn and spread Chinese culture has to know something about it. In the development of western civilization, the dragon also exists and forms a kind of dragon culture which is quite distinct from the Chinese Loong culture. Since the cognition of Chinese Loong and the western dragon is quite different, there are some misunderstandings in our communication. To learn and understand the cultural difference between Chinese Loong and the western dragon is beneficial to the cultural communication between us.

In the Chinese Xinhua Dictionary (1980), the original meaning of Loong is a kind of a supernatural animal, which carries horns and whiskers and only has one head. It can make rain as wanted in legend. Another meaning of Loong refers to the head of animals, which can be black or bright, can be short or long, flying to the sky in spring, and diving in the sea in autumn. Chinese people regard Loong as the symbol of auspiciousness and authority. In ancient China, Loong is the symbolization of the emperor. Hence the look of the emperor is called Loong yan, the clothes emperor wears is called Loong Pao, and the chair emperor sits is called Loong Yi. Chinese people regard themselves as the offspring of Loong and China is called “Dong Fang Ju Loong” which means China is a big oriental country. Nowadays, people still regard Loong as an auspicious creature that can bring good luck. In the phrase “望子成龙; wàng zǐ chéng lóng “, Loong means a successful person with prestige. Loong is rooted deeply in Chinese culture. Although the cultural meaning of Loong no longer has a close connection with the emperor these days, people in China still regard Loong as something auspicious.

While Chinese believe Loong can bring prosperity and good fortune, the creature is regarded differently in Western countries. Dragon exists not only in ancient Greek mythology but also in the holy dogmas of the middle ages. Moreover, the dragon can be found frequently in western films nowadays. We can easily draw a conclusion that dragon culture is, in some aspects, an important part of western life. However, the dragon is a symbol of evil in their minds. In a widespread Christian legend, the huge and violent dragon is the embodiment of demon. The dragon in some role-playing computer games is a monster that can help the player to beat the opponent and the dragon in films is always a super devil that attempts to destroy the earth.

Although Loong and dragon play important roles in both Chinese and western culture, there are many cultural differences between them. These differences mainly lie in the origin, the symbolization and the usage of the western dragon and Chinese Loong. The different cognition on these aspects makes the Chinese and the western have so different views of Loong and dragon. To recognize these differences can help us to solve the misunderstanding and communicate easily.

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