In the west, dragon is usually a symbol of evil. The westerners imagined dragon to be a lizard-like, fire-spitting monster and the embodiment of evil. However, Welsh people print dragon on their national flag and regard dragon as the symbolic of their country. Celtic dragon plays an important role in the daily life of Welsh. The Wales national football team adopts it as team emblem. Merchandises related to dragon are commonly seen in the local market too. Dragons even appear in the municipal governments of Welsh cities.
Celtic dragon is a creature with four legs and a pair of independent wings (six limbs in total). A similar four-limbed creature with forelimb-turned wings (instead of independent wings) like bat and independent hindquarters is not dragon, but wyvern.
red dragon wales story
As is mentioned in the Arthurian legend circulating from the 12th century, King Vortigern wanted to build a castle, but the builders found that the wall half built in the day always collapsed at night. Thereupon, King Vortigern called in astrologists and sorcerers to solve the mystery. A sorcerer told him, the castle could be built only if the blood of a virgin’s son was spilled on the ground. King Vortigern found such a child, Merlin. But Merlin denounced this method as a lie. He told the king: there was a lake under the foundation of his castle, and two dragons were sleeping at the bottom of lake. King Vortigern ordered his men to dig out the underground lake, there were indeed a red dragon and a white dragon. Both dragons woke up and fought each other. The white dragon had the upper hand at first, but was drove away in the end after the red dragon fought back. Merlin explained: the red dragon represented King Vortigern’s people, the Anglos; while the white dragon represented the Saxons. The home of Anglos would be invaded by Saxons first, and then they would fight back and drove Saxons out. This story was first recorded in the 9th-century history book the Historia Brittonum, and the territory of King Vortigern is modern Wales.
Another dragon story, Lludd and Llefelys, was recorded in Mabinogion which was possibly written earlier. Lludd was the son and heir of Beli Mawr, the king of the Britons; his fourth brother Llefelys married a French princess and later became the king of France. During Lludd’s reign, in every May horrible screams could be heard everywhere in Britain, making men fear, women miscarry, children go mad, animals die, trees wither and rivers dry up. Lludd turned to Llefelys, Llefelys told him: “That’s the scream of dragon. This dragon is fighting a foreign dragon. You need to measure the land of Britain, dig a hole at the location right in the center, place a crucible filled with mead and sealed with silk inside. The two fighting dragons will fall into the crucible, become drunken by mead and fall asleep. You must seal the crucible immediately, put it in a stone coffin and bury it under solid ground. Thus, you country can avoid some disaster from outside. In the end, Lludd buried these dragons at Dinas Emrys, just where King Vortigern built his castle later. And the two dragons were exactly the two King Vortigern dug out.
During the Tudor dynasty, the red dragon was adopted as the emblem of Henry VII after he took over the throne. It also appeared on the coat of arms and national flag of Wales, became the symbol of this country.
Celtic dragon is adopted as the emblem of Wales national football team
Wales national football team, also known as The Dragons, uses red dragon as its team emblem, meaning that the power of red dragon will enable them to dominate the pitch. They adopted new emblem in 2010, while retaining the red dragon design. The new emblem retaines all the core elements in all markers currently used by the Football Association of Wales (FAW). A red dragon stands right in the center of a shield with green margin, where there are 11 blooming narcissus representing 11 players. The motto of the FAW, “Gorau chwarae, cyd chwarae”, appears below the shield. More elements of youth and fashion are added to the new emblem, bringing the trend of fashion to the time-honored FAW.
The Wales national football team was founded on March 25th, 1876, and administrated by the Football Association of Wales (FAW). It is one of the oldest national football teams in Europe. But the Wales team is also a group of tragic heroes. Despite having stars like Ian Rush, Mark Hughes, Dean Sanders and Ryan Giggs as well as Neville Southall (who has the most appearances in the history of Everton FC) in the squad, such a star-studded team just could not make it to the World Cup. The Red Dragons did not show their best until the 2016 European Championship where they entered the semifinals. Today the Team Wales still has the best players in the world such as Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey.
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