The Dragon Dance

Dragons are of course legendary animals, but they are important to Chinese people who think of dragons as helpful, friendly creatures. They are linked to good luck, long life and wisdom. They are nothing like the fierce, fire-breathing Western dragons that carry off princesses and eat people. Chinese Dragons are associated with storm clouds and life-giving rain. They have special powers so they can fly in the air, swim in the sea and walk on land. The Dragon has features of other animals such as the horns of a stag, the scales of a fish and the footpads of a tiger.

Enticing the Dragon

Dragon dances are performed at New Year to scare away evil spirits. During the dance the performers hold poles and raise and lower the Dragon. Sometimes one man has a 'Pearl of Wisdom' on a pole and he entices the Dragon to follow him to the beat of a drum, as if searching for wisdom and knowledge.

Chasing the 'Pearl of Wisdom'

Dragons used in Dragon dances vary in length from a few metres to up to 100m long. Longer Dragons are thought to be more lucky than shorter ones. The dances can be performed either during the day or night, but at night a blazing torch will be carried to light the way.

Download and print out colouring pictures of a dragon and a dragon dance.

Video of a Dragon Dance

Chinese Dragon Game - Ordering and Sequencing Numbers

Chinese Dragon Game

Chinese Dragon maths game is an ordering and sequencing numbers game based on the Chinese New Year dragon theme. It's suitable for 5-11 year olds.

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Find out about the Lantern Festival