June 25th is the day that Chinese communities across the globe will honour the longstanding tradition of the Dragon Boat Festival in 2020. The festival has a myriad mythologies and expressions from warding off evil spirits, honouring mighty dragons and celebrating the life and sacrifice of Qu Yuan, an ancient Chinese poet and leader.
On this day various groups and communities gather to enjoy music, food such as rice dumplings and realgar wine and of course cheer their favourite teams on to victory as they race beautiful sleek dragon-headed boats in honour of the festival.
In memory of Qu Yuan
Qu Yuan lived from 340–278, and during the Zhou Dynasty spoke out against the king of the Chu royal house when he began to ally himself with the increasingly powerful state of Qin. Banished for his idealism and branded a traitor Qu Yuan began to voice his protest through the art of poetry, an act which would see him lauded as China’s first “patriotic poet” in the 1940s.
As Yuan had often warned the ever power-hungry state of Qin eventually turned on its ally and overthrew the royal house of Chu, capturing its capital city Ying. In a final act of loyalist despair, Qu Yuan is said to have committed suicide by drowning himself in the Miluo River.
Lovers of his idealism, patriotism and poetry are said to have rowed out into the river, at first to save him and once his demise was certain, to retrieve his body for proper burial. Some believe this practice is the origin of the Dragon Boat Festival and its races.
Warding off evil
In Chinese numerology the number 5 is generally considered an auspicious number however the fifth lunar month is considered a bad month. In addition to its being a bad month the fifth day of the fifth lunar is considered to be a day of great misfortune. However, it is also the day of the Dragon Boat Festival.
During this time Chinese communities will try to rid themselves, their loved ones and their homes of bad luck by putting out calamus, pomegranate flowers and Chinese Ixora. Garlic strung above doorways is believed to be a potent deterrent for any evil spirits who had intended to enter your home.
Images of the poisonous creatures that become more active during this time of year, including snakes, centipedes and scorpions, are stuck with nails and pins to walls and the sides of Dragon Boats in an attempt to have the dragon spirits ward them from evil and fight off illness.
Dragon legends in Chinese mythology
Throughout Chinese mythology, the dragon has held a place of honour. For those, it finds to be of worthy character the dragon chooses to be a symbol of power, strength, and good luck.
There are said to be nine Chinese Dragons, creatures of great wisdom who are kind to the Chinese people, these are:
- Tianlong a celestial dragon who protects the celestial palace
- Shenlong a blue spiritual dragon who controls the winds and rain
- Fucanglong a dragon of hidden treasures which lives underground protecting precious minerals
- Dilong a dragon who lives underground and controls rivers and streams
- Yinglong a winged yet hornless dragon who befriended and served the Yellow Emperor
- Jiaolong a primal aquatic dragon
- Panlong a water dragon who controls time
- Huanglong is believed to be dragon form of the Yellow Emperor
- Long Wang is considered to be the dragon king
The Chinese dragon was so highly venerated in ancient times that there is a local proverb that loosely translates in English to "Hoping one's son will become a dragon".
These ancient people even considered dinosaur bones to be the remains of the dragons from their myths and legends with the Chinese term for dinosaurs till today being “terror dragon”.
Dragon-themed Asian slots
This love of dragons as symbols of power, luck and good fortune has carried through to the development of Asian video slots where Chinese dragon is a prominent symbol.
Here are five Asian slots that pay homage to these venerable creatures:
✓Dragon's Luck Megaways slot by Red Tiger Gaming
Red Tiger unleashes the full power and majesty of the dragon in their Dragon’s Luck Megaways slot. Tap into the ancient powers at the dragon shrine set high upon a mist-shrouded hill to win up to 10,000x your bet.
The reels of Red Tiger’s gorgeously depicted temple-setting are filled with classic Chinese symbols of wealth and good fortune including lotus flowers and Koi fish. Even the lower value symbols have been made to look like Chinese calligraphy.
To help you on your journey to good fortune the slot offers collectable coins, giant symbols, upgrading symbols and up to 117,646 Megaways to win.
✓Royal Golden Dragon slot by Swintt
Game developer Swintt whisk you away to a world filled with awe inspiring Chinese dragons and big win potential. Find favour with these ancient gods in their temple and you could be rewarded with up to 5832x your bet.
The reels of Royal Golden Dragon slot are guarded by two golden Fu-dogs and each spin will see you summoning forth instantly recognisable Chinese symbols. These symbols of wealth include a gold ingot, a golden tortoise, a golden bell, a Ming vase and gold coins.
Being blessed with the presence of the Royal Dragon could see you unlock the slot machines Free Spins feature which is the only time you can trigger the games maximum reward of to 5832x your bet.
✓East Sea Dragon King slot by NetEnt
Ancient Chinese mythology saw dragons as beautiful and bold giving them exaggerated features and bright colours. NetEnt lean into this vibrant cultural expression with their East Sea Dragon King video slot.
NetEnt has set the reels of the slot deep in the ocean where this dragon is king and filled them with bold symbols of good luck and wealth. This includes red baskets filled with gold ingots, states carved from green jade, giant flawless pearls and golden coins.
The high variance action of East Sea Dragon King slot also brings great rewards with expanding symbols, wilds and respins leading to way to wins of up to 6000x your bet.
✓Dragon Match Megaways slot by iSoftBet
Find your centre atop a serene mountaintop in a mist-covered garden in iSoftBet’s Dragon Match Megaways slot. If luck favours you these ancient Chinese spirits and totems could be the catalyst of your good fortune.
iSoftBet has created a bold richly coloured setting where enormous golden dragons flank the reels set in a temple-like structure. The shape of the building allows for an unusual 3-5-5-3 base game layout filled with dragons, drums, lotus flowers and other symbols of good luck and prosperity.
Thanks to the slot machines Dragon Match feature, Free Spins and 3136 Megaways to wins you could be rewarded with up to 20,000x your total bet on any lucky spin.
✓Dragons Lucky 8 slot by Wazdan
Wazdan’s Dragons Lucky 8 slot sees you paying your respects to these ancient beings through the fruits on the reels and the spins you play. Gain their favour and you could find mystical tigers and powerful dragons coming to your aid.
The temple bound reels of Dragons Lucky 8 are set against a serene mountain pass painted in soft colours and overlaid with a traditional soundtrack. Unlike other Asian slots, there are no gold ingots or lucky frogs just succulent fruits which act as offerings to the gods.
A golden Wild Dragon and golden Scatter Tiger are waiting to spring into action providing you with winning combination, up to x8 win multipliers and free spins where you could be rewarded with up to 2500x your bet.