Dragon Symbolism and Meaning: Variations Across the World

Dragon Symbolism and Meaning: Variations Across the World


Symbols are communicative manifestations that express certain meanings that are assigned to them by cultural, religious, or spiritual groups of people, and these meanings represent the group’s shared beliefs, norms, and values.

The same is applicable to the dragon symbol. You probably picked up on hints from movies and maybe even anime that dragon’s symbolism is of great significance to many groups of people around the world.

Read on to find out the dragon symbol meaning and what it represents.

Dragon Description

Before getting into dragon symbolism, let’s refresh the imagery of dragons in our minds.

Dragons are mythical creatures – thankfully – found in folklore and mythology, which vary in the way they look from culture to another, just like the meaning of their symbolism.

In Western cultures, dragons are depicted as fire breathing creatures with horns, wings, and four legs. As for the Eastern cultures, dragons are of above average intelligence, and they are depicted with no wings, four legs, and a serpent-like shape.

Dragon Symbol Meaning

As mentioned above, the dragon represents many different meanings to different groups of people around the world, here is a quick overview of some of these meanings, and the groups which they belong to:

1. Dragons in China

You probably saw the Dragon Dance in the Chinese New Year celebrations on TV, this alone shows the importance of dragons in China.

Not only are dragons believed to bring good luck to people, but they also represent power and majesty as the five-footed dragons symbolize the Emperor and Imperialism.

As for Chinese mythology, it associates dragons with the sky, as the Chinese believe that the sky is divided into nine palaces, each of which is ruled by a dragon, which ties back to its symbolism of power.

The symbolism of dragons is also carried over in other parts of the world to reflect the Chinese theme of many businesses such as the Dragon Mart in Dubai, UAE.

2. Dragons in Christianity

Yep, dragons have symbolism in religion as well.

In the Bible, dragons are depicted through symbolic metaphors that are used to describe sea monsters, serpents, and most importantly, Satan.

The dragon represents the enemy of God, which lives and rules in Hell; it is an evil and destructive force that devours people, starts wars, and cares for no one and for nothing.

In addition, dragons are associated with power in the Bible through their symbolism of Satan, and to add to the complexity of the dragon symbol meaning in the Bible, dragons are compared to the way people rule their nations, which further establishes the power theme.

3. Dragons in Celtic Nations

The Celts are a group of tribes which culture began developing in 1200 B.C. Their origins root back to central Europe before spreading through Western Europe with migration.

Even though they spread through countries such as Spain, France, Britain, and Ireland, their most prominent legacy takes place in Ireland and Great Britain.

The Celts too have a significant dragon symbol meaning.

In Celtic literature, dragons are obstacles that the hero must overcome to continue his journey, but evil is not the only meaning for dragon symbolism in Celtic culture. Dragons also represent power, strength, and royalty as Celt warriors used dragon insignia in battles.

The blending of Celtic literary motifs and the Germanic ones, along with the Christian dragon symbolism of evil and Satan, all make up the dragons’ imagery known in Europe today, which are the inhabitants of remote or underground places.


The dragon symbol is one of the many symbols that communicate certain meanings that are assigned to them by a certain group of people; therefore, dragon symbolism varies from one culture to the other, in addition to having certain meanings in Christianity. Varying from power, strength, and majesty, the dragon symbol remains one of the most well-known and rich symbols around the world today.