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Chinese Lion Dance, Dragon Dance, Firecrackers

Saturday, 4 February 2012

'Dong, dong dong, chiang. Dong, dong dong chiang...'. Lion dance is a form of traditional dance and performance in Chinese culture and is a highlight of Chinese New Year celebrations. It usually performed as a ceremony to scare away evil spirits and to summon luck and fortune.

Chinese New Year Lion Dance

The lion dance is also associated with 'Nian' 年, the mythical creature who would come on the first day of New Year to eat livestock, crops, and even villagers, especially children. 'Nian' is afraid of red colour and hence the loud noise and red would scare it away.

Chinese New Year Lion Dance

One of the highlights of the performance is the traditional custom of "cai ching" (採青), which means "plucking the greens". the 'green' is usually a head of lettuce. Everything is done for a reason. The green vegetable in Chinese is 'cai' (菜), which sounds like the word 'cai' (财-fortune). Once the lion has 'plucked' the greens, the greens are thrown towards the audience to represent good wealth.

Chinese New Year Lion Dance

Chinese New Year Lion Dance

Since it is the year of the dragon, we also had a dragon dance performance. Dragons, in Chinese culture, symbolise power, strength, wealth and good luck.

Chinese New Year Dragon Dance

Lastly, firecrackers, which is believed to scare away the evil spirits (or 'Nian') and misfortunes right at the start of the year.

Chinese New Year Firecrackers

Please DO NOT attempt this at home.

That's my father-in-law holding the pole. Brave.

Chinese New Year Firecrackers

Please DO NOT attempt this at home.

PS. All pictures taken with my iPhone 4s.

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