Lishui's story with dragon

chinadaily.com.cn| Updated : Feb 29, 2024 L M S


The one-kilometer-long dragon parades in Jinyun county, Lishui, Zhejiang province. [Photo/WeChat Account: zjlsly2014]

"A One-kilometer-long dragon paraded through Jinyun County, Zhejiang Province." Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin posted on the social platform X to promote "Jinyun dragon" to the world on Feb 27.

The "dragon" in the post is the bench dragon from Jinyun county, Lishui, Zhejiang province.

From the beginning of the Spring Festival to the Lantern Festival, over 100 "dragons" have appeared in Lishui, becoming the focus of the Year of Dragon.

As it turns out, Lishui has a deep relationship with "dragon".

Lishui is home to several well-known bench dragons. Initially, the bench dragon dance was a ritual to worship ancestors and pray for rain. Over the years, it gradually transitioned into a recreational activity. By the Tang and Song dynasties (618-1279), it had become a common activity during festivals.

The bench dragon has been passed down generation after generation for thousands of years, still thriving today.

When it comes to "dragon", it is impossible not to talk about the Xiandu Scenic Spot in Jinyun, where the largest number of dinosaur individuals and the most complete dinosaur bones have been found in Zhejiang so far.

Furthermore, the sacrificial ceremony for the Yellow Emperor annually held in the scenic spot is also closely related to dragons.

At the sacrificial ceremony in 2023, a 56-meter-long golden dragon hovered and danced, flying to the sky with the infinite reverence and gratitude of the Chinese people for the ancestors as well as the best wishes and blessings.


The "Oujiang flood dragon" from Yunhe county. [Photo/WeChat Account: zjlsly2014]

Notably, Lishui's "dragon" can not only fly in the sky but also swim in the river. The "Oujiang flood dragon" is a comprehensive folk activity from Yunhe county integrating the dragon belief, boat gang customs, and folk-art performances.

About 280 meters long, the dragon is made of bamboo and pasted with cotton paper or silk. Every year at the Lantern Festival and Dragon Boat Festival, the "flood dragon" performance takes place on the Oujiang River, as a ritual to pray for good weather and harvest.

Lishui's "dragons" even make their appearance to the world. At the opening ceremony of the 19th Asian Para Games in October 2023, a special "dragon" from Suichang county composed of wheels lit up the world with fireworks.