Today, we welcome the Year of the Wood Dragon, which will end on 28 January 2025. According to a myth, in the fifth year of the Chinese zodiac, the Jade Emperor declared that the order of the animals would be determined by the order they arrived to attend his function. Everyone assumed that the Dragon, being the mightiest, would show up first. However, the Dragon arrived after the Rat, Ox, Tiger, and Rabbit.
The Dragon’s delay was due to his act of creating rain for a drought-stricken village. The Jade Emperor was impressed by the Dragon’s kindness and granted him the fifth position in the rankings. The Dragon is the most popular, powerful, noble, and mythical among the twelve animals.
Does a Dragon exist? Dragons have been mythical creatures, legends and fantasies for centuries. They are not real and have never existed. The Chinese Dragon is an imaginary creature that is said to have seven different animal features. It has the body of a snake, the horns of a deer, the head of a bull, the mouth of a crocodile, the nose of a pig, the claws of an eagle, and the scales of a fish.
In Western culture, dragons are typically portrayed as monsters, evil creatures that cause harm. There is a story about Saint George and the Dragon. Saint George is believed to have lived during the 300 AD. He was born in Cappadocia, which is modern-day Turkey. George was a soldier in the ancient Roman Empire. Once, he travelled to North Africa, to a town called Silene. He saw the townspeople were in grave danger. A dragon living in a nearby lake caused harm to the townspeople by poisoning them with a breath of hot air. The dragon demanded a sacrifice from them every day, and at first, they offered sheep, cows and other livestock. But when the animals ran out, the dragon demanded a human sacrifice, beginning with the men and women, adults, and eventually the king’s daughter.
One day, as the princess was about to be offered as a sacrifice, St George happened to be passing by on his horse. When he saw the princess and the king crying, he set out to fight the dragon and rescue the princess. St George speared the dragon with his lance and sliced off its head. The townspeople were grateful for his bravery and converted to Christianity, and St George built a church near the lake for them. Thus, the evil was defeated.
In ancient Eastern culture, the dragon was commonly regarded as a symbol of wisdom, excellence, power, and the ability to help people in numerous ways. Over time, the dragon became a symbol of divine and imperial power in Chinese history. It was prominently featured in temples, shrines, and depictions of the emperor and imperial family. This is why the dragon is associated with both divine power and spiritual force.
In the Christian Bible, the Book of Revelation, specifically Chapters 12 and 13, speaks about the Beasts or the image of Dragons having seven heads and ten horns. These beasts promise to bring life and prosperity, but ultimately, they bring death, misery, and devastation to the earth. However, at the end of the Book of Revelation, Jesus emerges as the ultimate Victor. If we choose to stand with Him, we will also triumph over evil.
No matter how we look at it, this Year of the Dragon symbolises both divine power and spiritual force; we hope and pray that we can overcome the negative, dark and evil forces within ourselves.
As the Gospel’s reading says, “Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself, and each day has enough trouble of its own” (Mt 6: 34). We need not worry because the time of our redemption and ultimate victory is truly at hand. Let us always rejoice in the Lord! Looking forward to Jesus’ return, as the signs become more imminent, let us not lose hope. Instead, let us look up and anticipate that great day with great hope and rejoice in the Lord always!
May the Lord and His blessings guide us into the Year of the Dragon, bestowing prosperity and good fortune on everyone at home.
GONG XI FA CAI!