Posts Tagged ‘Cambodian folklore’

Of late I’ve been focusing on Chinese dragon lore, since Chinese New Year will be on the 19th. I’ve also spent time with Japanese folklore in the past. Now I’d like to take a break and acknowledge that the Chinese and Japanese, while amazing and beautiful, are not the sum of Asian culture. Most Asian cultures, from India to Korea and throughout the archipelagos, have dragon legends passed down from antiquity. Here are a few of them.

Vietnamese dragons are known are Rong, and are very similar to China’s Long or Lung dragons. They are symbols of life and growth.

In Korea, dragons begin as lesser water spirits known as Imugi. These benevolent serpents aspire to become true dragons, or Yong. Some legends state they must live for 1,000 years and do good works to reach this goal. Other tales claim they have been cursed and can never realize their dream. Still others say an Imugi must capture a yeouiju, the celestial pearl, in order to ascend.

The Naga of India are great serpents with human torso, arms and head whose mythic civilization played a vital role in Indian legend. I’ve written about them in the past, if you’d like to check it out. Hindu lore also includes Makara, a semi-draconic goddess of the Ganges River.

The Khmer people of Cambodia tell of the Neak, benevolent spirits that appear as giant cobras with multiple heads. Some can have as many as nine cobra heads! Male Neak have odd numbers of heads, while females have even numbers.

I know there are more. If you’ve heard of any other Asian dragons, please share!.

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