Stories of the Dragons

Year of the Dragon Calendars

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Bàng Dragon

Taiwanese Hakka Community

Bàng Dragon loves to dance to the rhythm of the firecrackers, and is super good at breakdancing!

In Taiwan,

there’s a very special dragon called the Bàng Dragon. It’s a big part of the stories and traditions of the Hakka people from a place called Miaoli. The Bàng Dragon is not just any dragon; it’s part of a super fun event that’s all about dragon dancing!

During this event, people use lots of loud, colourful firecrackers, including beehive firecrackers. They are set off around the dragon to chase away any bad luck and welcome the New Year with a big, joyful celebration.

In the early days, the narrow streets of the city were filled with people, laughter, and the crackling of firecrackers. The dragon dancers have to be really quick and nimble. They leap, twist, and turn, dancing through the crowds and dodging the firecrackers. It’s a big, exciting game where they show off their fast and fancy footwork.

貉龍君

Lạc Long Quân

Vietnam

Lạc Long Quân is a joyful grandpa dragon with sooo many grandkids. He loves them a lot and can’t help but brag about them to anyone who will listen!

According to Vietnamese legend,

the people of Vietnam are believed to be the children of dragons and fairies. 

Lạc Long Quân was the dragon deity who fell in love with a beautiful fairy named Âu Cơ, and together, they had 100 children. 

Lạc Long Quân loved the ocean because he was a dragon from the sea. So, 50 of his children decided to live near the waves and the sand with their dad. The other 50 children accompanied their mother, Âu Cơ,  to dwell in the mountains.

Bakunawa

Bakunawa

Philippines

Bakunawa is a big, sea-dwelling dragon, known for its attempts to swallow the moon, which often causes trouble for everyone around.

In Philippine mythology,

Bakunawa is a serpent-like dragon that resides in the ocean.

Once upon a time, there were seven bright, shiny moons in the night sky. Bakunawa saw these moons and wanted them all for itself. It began to leap from the sea and gobble the moons up, one at a time, causing lunar eclipses.

As Bakunawa was about to swallow the very last moon, the people of the Philippines grew worried. They knew Bakunawa didn’t like loud noises. So, they gathered on the beach with pots, pans, and big spoons, and made the loudest racket you can imagine! They banged, clanged, and shouted, making so much noise that it scared the dragon!

Startled by this thunderous noise, Bakunawa spat out the last moon and quickly swam away, deep into the ocean. And that’s how the brave people saved the last moon from being swallowed by Bakunawa.

Hachiro Taro

Japan

Hachiro Taro is famous for his love of fish and his never-ending thirst. He’s the big dragon with a belly full of river water.

In the lore of Kusakimura,

located in Kazuno County, there once lived a young man named Hachiro Taro, who made his living by hunting and gathering wild vegetables. 

One day, Hachiro Taro and his friends planned a fun hunting adventure in the mountains. It was his job to bring food for the trip. And he brought loads of delicious fish. However, on his way, Hachiro Taro got really, really hungry. Before he knew it, he had eaten all the fish—every single one!

After eating so much fish, he was super thirsty. He drank all the water he had, but he was still thirsty. So he ran to a nearby river and started drinking straight from it, and he didn’t stop. He drank for 33 whole days! 

After drinking so much water, Hachiro Taro turned into a massive serpent, over 30 meters long! This giant serpent blocked the river, and formed a huge lake right there in the mountains. He then took residence as a dragon god in this newly formed lake, which is known as Lake Towada today.

Nanzo-bo

Japan

Nanzo-bo is an elderly man with a piercing gaze and extraordinary combat skills.

In Japanese legend,

there was a spiritual practitioner named Nanzo-bo, who traveled far and wide, driven by his dream of becoming an immortal. 

One night, he had a special dream. In his dream, a wise old deity with white hair and a long beard told him, “Follow the path guided by your walking stick until the straps of your straw sandals break. Where they break, that’s where you’re meant to stay forever.” Nanzo-bo woke up and knew he had to follow this dream. So, he grabbed his walking stick and set off on an adventure.

His journey took him to many places, but his big moment came by the shores of Lake Towada. Right there, his sandals fell apart! He knew this was the spot from his dream. So, he sat down, closed his eyes, and started meditating and chanting special words.

However, his tranquility was disrupted by the arrival of the big dragon Hachiro Taro. Hachiro Taro didn’t want Nanzo-bo to become immortal here. A huge battle between Nanzo-bo and the dragon lasted for seven days and seven nights. 

In the end, Nanzo-bo won the fight. And he turned into a beautiful green dragon! Nanzo-bo, the green dragon, then became the new guardian of Lake Towada, watching over it forever.

Tatsuko

Japan

Tatsuko is a girl who loved being beautiful so much that she would spend hours looking at her reflection in the mirror, admiring her pretty face.

Once upon a time in Japan,

there was a girl named Tatsuko, known far and wide for her stunning beauty. Tatsuko often wondered, “How can I keep my beauty forever and ever?” Every day, she would pray to a kind and wise deity named Guanyin Pusa, hoping to find an answer.

On the hundredth day of her prayers, something amazing happened! Guanyin Pusa spoke to her in a dream and said, “Over the mountains, you’ll find a crystal-clear spring. Just one sip of its water, and your wish will come true.” Tatsuko immediately set off on an adventure to find this magical spring.

After a long journey, Tatsuko finally found the spring. She took a sip, but she was still thirsty. So, she took another sip, and another. However, the more she drank, the greater her thirst grew. At first, she cupped the water in her hands, drinking fervently. Eventually, she plunged her head into the spring for deeper gulps. 

And then, something incredible happened. As she drank more and more, Tatsuko turned into a huge, majestic dragon. Where Tatsuko drank the water, a big, beautiful lake appeared. Tatsuko, now a powerful dragon, became the guardian of this new lake.

Soro

Taiwanese Saisiyat Tribe

Soro was like no other pet – a mix between a snake and a dog, but he’s really scared of water!

Once upon a time in Taiwan,

lived a very unusual creature named Soro. Soro was a magical serpent, not scary or slimy, but friendly and about the size of a dog. This serpent was special – it had patterns all over its body and four little legs.

The people of the Saisiyat Tribe, who loved exploring the forests, found Soro during one of their hunting expeditions. They were so amazed by this four-legged serpent that they decided to bring it home. A kind family named the Xia family took care of Soro. They found out that Soro liked something very strange – eating ashes from the fire!

One day, when the head of the Xia family went out, Soro decided to follow him. But something sad happened. Soro accidentally fell into a river and got stuck in a fish trap! The Xia family was very sad. They kept Soro’s tail as a memory, which unfortunately was later burnt to ashes in a fire.

The Xia family wrapped the ashes in a special cloth and kept it with great respect. They believed that if they asked Soro for help, like for sunny days or for healing, Soro’s spirit would always listen and grant their wishes.

འབྲུག,

Druk

Bhutan

Druk is a happy, musical dragon. He expresses joy through song. To those who hear him, his voice resounds like the booming of thunder.

Located at the Himalayan foothills,

Bhutan is often wrapped in misty clouds. And if you listen closely, you can hear thunder rumbling in the distance. The people there call their country “Druk,” which means both “dragon” and “thunder.” They have a special belief that whenever there is thunder, it’s actually dragons talking in the sky. Thus, the country is also known as “The Land of the Thunder Dragon.” 

According to legend, the founder of Bhutan, upon hearing thunder in the sky, witnessed nine majestic dragons rising from the ground and soaring into the heavens! 

LunarFest GTA is grateful to be held on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of many nations, including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples, that is now home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. We acknowledge our privilege to be gathered on this land, and commit to work with and be respectful to the Indigenous peoples whose arts and stories inspire us to bring communities together.

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LunarFest GTA is grateful to be held on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of many nations, including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples, that is now home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. We acknowledge our privilege to be gathered on this land, and commit to work with and be respectful to the Indigenous peoples whose arts and stories inspire us to bring communities together.

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