Chinese Culture: Koi Symbolism

The Koi is a symbol often associated with Asian culture and the art of breeding, caring and admiring these beautiful fish originated from China before spreading across Asia via cultural trade and conquest. Though beautiful to admire, there is a story behind why this fish is held in such high regard and this article will share that tale with you.

Legend has it that a large number of koi were swimming up the yellow river in China, fighting against the rapid currents and growing stronger in the process. At the end of their journey they reached a waterfall where several of the koi gave up and allowed the currents to carry them back down the river however a select number continued the arduous battle to try and swim up the waterfall. This struggle continued for one hundred years before a single koi was able to make it over the waterfall and witnessing this prodigious feat, the gods transformed that koi into a golden dragon.

This story is one of adversity and struggle yet also of resilience and perseverance. One should take note of the underlying message that all great things take time be it career or fitness goals, better health or financial stability. There is also a message of transformation as the koi sought after the goal of overcoming the waterfall rather than becoming something great however it was rewarded with greatness for approaching the goal so wholeheartedly and against all odds. We often grow and mature as we encounter challenges and difficult times in our lives however it is the grit that develops from surviving those experiences that changes us into a better person; this relates to the idea of post traumatic growth. 

So the next time you undertake a challenge that seems impossible remember the story of the koi that turned into a dragon – all things are possible with perseverance, patience and resilience.

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