Thursday, December 13, 2012

L is for lóng 龙

My kids are familiar with the role of dragon in Chinese culture. But few know how the animal was created. I love this book called Legend of the Chinese Dragon, written in both English and Chinese. The book is illustrated with woodcuts executed in black and bright primary colors. Elegant calligraphy runs down the pages and seals of Chinese characters of different animal names are designed by the calligrapher. The story describes the role of the dragon as a symbol of peace and hope for an end to war, something quite different from the fire-breathing myth in western culture. Tired of seeing their land ravaged by war, the Chinese children decided to create an animal that would combine the attributes of many creatures and protect all the people, no matter what tribe. They called their creation, "which could fly in the air, swim in the ocean, and walk on land," a dragon, and it inspired their parents to make peace. There are many legends about how a dragon was created and I am not sure about the source of this one. But I love this one because chidren are heroes in this story.
We watched the short video about dragon. They all know two important festivals in China, when we celebrate with dragon dance and dragon boat racing. I showed them a performance of 2012 Asian dragon dance champion by a  highschool team from Taiwan. There were fasicnated by different tricks they did. They love the music of dragon dance by drums and cymbals. 
I love this week's craft. Two classes of kids traced their hands and cut them out to make a dragon! Their hands are small, so we made a lot of them to form a dragon. Look at these colorful hands! They are from my precious children of China!

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