January 23, 2012, marks the beginning of the Chinese Year of the Dragon. In Chinese astrology, people born in the Year of the Dragon are believed to be passionate, intelligent, brave, and self-confident. Years featuring the dragon are supposed to be strong ones for business and finances.
In folklore and fantasy books, dragons steal the show with their power and intelligence. In Western stories, there are wicked dragons, such as Smaug in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit. There is the rather famous Reluctant Dragon, by Kenneth Grahame, who is a little too kind and civilized to be slain and turned into the latest trophy on Saint George's castle wall. In Chinese legend, dragons are known for their power and ancient wisdom. Their somewhat human children might be warriors or handsome royals or simply wise and witty in the way that dragons are. Real humans who go up against them had better have their wits about them.
To read more about legendary Chinese dragons and how they are remembered in today's celebrations, check out our book list, Year of the Dragon.