19 February 2007

Chinese Lion Dance

The drums were beating… actually they were calling us; calling us to witness the Chinese Lion Dance being danced at the Gold Coast Shopping Centre. So with our new digital camera in hand, I rushed to tidy myself (as it was a public holiday and I had been slothing around the apartment).

As we got closer to the shopping centre the drums were louder and we could also hear someone using the gong and another smashing the cymbals.

The Lion Dance is performed at the beginning of the Chinese New Year to bring luck and to ward off evil spirits. I fondly watched the 2 lions dance and wander through each of the shops at the centre.

Tradition is that the performing group is paid through the Choy Cheng, or ‘Eating of the Green (vegetable)’. Generally a lai see packet (with money inside) is attached to some green vegetable and is placed in an area for the lion to ‘eat’. The dance is where the lion carefully approaches the vegetable and makes sure it is safe to eat. After testing on the left and right sides, the lion will do a ‘3-star’ routine to ward off any others that may want to eat his vegetable.

The lion then picks up the green vegetable with his mouth and chews it. The person who is performing at the head of the lion usually removes the lai see packet and places it inside his shirt. He does this so he does not drop it because it would mean bad luck. Then he tears the lettuce apart, and spits it out, first to the left, then to the right and then to the middle to help spread prosperity in all directions.

I said to Nick once it was over that they should come to our place and spread the prosperity around to help my business grow. And as we walked across the bridge to head home we heard the drums calling… there they were walking down past our apartment block. By the time we saw them, they all looked exhausted, but one of the lion’s was still happy to be photographed while I happily clicked away.

1 comment:

Dannielle said...

Great shots, Nicole!! And thanks for the explanation! It's a fascinating culture, isn't it?