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CHINA - 中国 Zhongguo, it literally means a central kingdom.

Chinese characters have played a significant role in the development of the outstanding culture of the Chinese people. Chinese is written with characters known as 漢字 [汉字] (hànzi). Each character represents a syllable of spoken Chinese and also has a meaning. The characters were originally pictures of people, animals or other things but over the centuries they have become increasingly stylised and no longer resemble the things they represent. Many of the characters are actually compounds of two or more characters

Dragon 龙 (loong) occupies a very important postion in Chinese mythology. It shows up in arts, literature, poetry, architecture, songs, and many aspects of the Chinese conscience. The origin of Chinese dragons is unknown, but centainly pre-dates the written history.

— Why Chinese People Worship Dragons?

For centuries, the Chinese dragon has been a symbol of power and mystery. Depicted in countless legends, both Eastern and Western, the dragon has provoked man to fear and worship it. In medieval Europe, it was a bloodthirsty, fire-breathing figure. Its malevolence and ferociousness struck terror in all. However, in Asia, it is the contrary. The mighty dragon is a mythical beast long celebrated for its benevolence, intelligence and good will. The Chinese dragon has been a common symbol of identity for Far Eastern cultures.

chinese_character.jpgIn fact, Chinese people all over the world are affectionately known as “lung de chuan ren”, or the “descendants of the dragon”. There are several distinct species of Chinese dragons. The Horned Dragon is considered to be the mightiest. The Celestial Dragon supports the heavens and protects the Gods. The Earth Dragon rules all of the earth. The Spiritual Dragon controls the wind and rain. The Treasure Dragon is the keeper of precious metals and gems. The Winged Dragon is the only dragon with wings. The Coiling Dragon dwells in the ocean. The Yellow Dragon is a hornless dragon known for its scholarly knowledge.
 

— The Chinese Zodiac 生肖: Year of the Dragon 龙年

Years of the Dragon - 1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000

The symbolism of the East Asian dragon could not be more diametrically opposed to that of the western or Celtic dragon, as noted in this definition of the dragon tattoo symbol.

Particularly in China, it is difficult to imagine a more positive and powerful symbol. Although it is a mysterious and supernatural being, the dragon controls the forces of nature, particularly rain and thunder. It is equally at home in the sea or sky, although it typically has no wings. Dragons naturally lent themselves as symbols of imperial law-giving and just rule and were adopted by Chinese emperors as early as the Han dynasty when the five-clawed turquoise dragon Lung was used as a motif.

In the Chinese zodiac, people who are born in the Year of the Dragon are simply considered more powerful and lucky than anyone else. They naturally attract attention, are used to finishing first, and have the self-confidence and ego that go along with their tendency to do things on a grand scale. Endowed with tremendous energy, intelligence, and talent, Dragon people enjoy the attention but can also have a helpful and charitable side as well.

People born in the Year of the Dragon are considered most compatible with people born in the Year of the Rat or Monkey while they are least compatible with those born in the Year of the Dog.

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