National Geographic : 1969 Jan
awesome head, prancing toward each new flash of fire crackers, and frequently breathing fire (above). There were tributes to Dr. Sun, and flowers for his statue in the square. At last the gala day ended, the crowds scattered, and the mag nificent dragon went into storage until the next celebration. Symbol of power and good, old as China, the dragon is as much a part of Taiwan life as firecrackers, food, and frivol ity; as much a part of the Taiwan scene as buffalo-drawn plows and the skeletons of hastily rising apartments. He roosts on temples and adorns jetliners. And in folklore the dragon is credited with the creation of Taiwan. Long ago, says the legend, when mists still wreathed the earth and serpents swam the seas, dragons played off the coast of China. They played hard, as dragons do, so hard that their tails stirred the ocean bottom and an island rose. Here the dragons rested and slept, and here they reside still. Old natives of Taiwan tell this tale and are convinced that it is true, for, in the northernmost part of the island, dragons' breath still colors the air with sulphur fumes, and from fissures and caves comes the rumble of their snores. But I doubt that even an exhausted dragon could sleep through the frenzy of Taiwan's economic boom, maintained, 2 Fiery breath spews from the mouth of China's folklore fa vorite, the dragon, during a parade in Taipei, Taiwan. A dragon teaser deftly lights and tosses a combustible powder in front of the mouth to simulate flaming snorts. Chinese symbol of goodness and strength, the creature dances through the city on the legs of 30 men. The noisy celebration on November 12 honors the birthday of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, first President of the Republic of China. Mythological lion joins the parade on Dr. Sun's birthday. A lion dancer, clad in leopard skin, holds aloft the head of the curly-maned creature that stands for valor and energy. Mammoth outpouring of hu manity (pages 4-5) hails the anniversary of Dr. Sun's suc cessful revolution that swept the 268-year-old Manchu dy nasty from power on October 10, 1911. Both Dr. Sun's portrait and that of his wife's brother in-law, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, lower right, fill the street. Streaming banner at top wishes "10,000 years to the Republic of China," a theme repeated by other placards. Yel low octagonal signs exhort the people to persist in the struggle against the Communists, and numbered flags identify march ing units. After Dr. Sun's death in 1925, Chiang assumed control of the Republican forces. Defeated in 1949 by the Communists, the Generalissimo and his followers retreated across Formosa Strait to Taiwan. Since then they have built an ever-stronger military and economic bastion on the island while continuing to hope for eventual return to the mainland.