CNY facts #6: there's nothing special about the sixth day of the chinese new year and therefore, today we shall learn about the lion dance. lion dance is a form of traditional dance found in the Chinese culture, in which performers mimic a lion's movements in a lion's costume. People often mistakenly call it dragon dance. lion dance only has 2 dancers in the costume, while dragon dance has many performers for the long body of the dragon.
businesses often have a lion dance troupe perform the lion dance on their opening day for prosperity. during chinese new year, the lion dance troupes will visit houses and shops in the chinese community to perform the traditional custom of "採青 cai qing," (literal meaning: plucking the greens"). it is a quest by the 'lion' to pluck the auspicious green, [normally vegetables like lettuce, which in chinese 菜 (cái - vegetables) sounds like 财 (cái - fortune)] and auspicious fruit like oranges tied to a red envelope (红包 - hong bao) containing money; either hung high or just placed on a table in front of the premises. the 'lion' will dance and approach the 'green' and 'red envelope' like a curious cat, to "eat the green" and "spit" it out in a nice arrangement (e.g., in the form of an auspicious character) and keep the 'red envelope.'
different types of vegetables, fruits, foods, or utensils with auspicious and good symbolic meanings such as pineapples, pomelos, bananas, oranges, sugar cane shoots, coconuts, clay pots or even crabs can be used to be the 'greens' to be 'plucked' to give different difficulty and challenge to the lion dance performers. but the difficulties of the challenge should come with the bigger rewards of the 'red envelope' given.
the lion dance is believed to bring good luck and fortune. it is also believed that the loud beats of the drum and the deafening sounds of the cymbals together with lion dancing aggresively can evict bad or evil spirits.
photos from the chinese new year party in richmond in 2010 - the lion going for the greens
got it :)
what else happened today:
we all gathered at uncle alvin and aunt jo's house tonight for a CNY potluck and it was great.
there were a lot of people but us young people went down to the basement and played daidee and mahjong hahaha.
we had 2 groups playing daidee and so the 2 losers from one team would move down and 2 winners from the other move up. it was a lot of shifting around and was a lot of fun hahaha.
i had such bad luck with daidee and so i eventually migrated to playing mahjong and that was so much better haha. i won the first 3 rounds straight hahaha.
we make so much noise when we get together as singaporeans hahaha but it feels so much like family.
singaporeans here seriously = family.
and then the quote for the night:
"my dream wedding is NO wedding! just move in and buy a waffle maker." -Cheryl Woo
hahaha it was seriously epic. love that girl.
presenting to you the girl who said that epic quote. we're kinda matching. so cute haha.
ooh and look what she brought me at midnight last night haha. freshly baked pineapple tarts. what love! and thats the stuffed dragon toy my mother sent me hahaha. its hanging in my car now!
the 2 groups playing. super engrossed too hahaha.okay so you can't really see it but the 3 of us who are born in the year of the dragon standing on the extreme left of the photo are actually blurry and we were like 'what the, 龙年 is really very bad for the 龙s' hahaha
we did another one with flash :)
and now i need to sleep. excited for steamboat/hot pot tmr night.