For over 1,000 years, Lion Dance performances have been a fundamental part of Chinese culture. The dance performances are typically a traditional part of The Spring Festival. According to Chinese legend, the lion comes down to earth to bestow blessings upon all and to keep away negative spirits. Both lion and dragon dance performances are elaborate displays of this ancient Chinese legend. There are quite a few facts that many are unaware of pertaining to these annual parades and customs.
1. Lion’s Dance Performances Serve as an Honor for Martial Arts Acadamies
When a school is selected to perform, lion dance also serves as an exhibiton of the martial arts school’s vitality. typically carried out by martial arts school students. martial arts schools and students who perform. The lion is a symbol of a martial arts academy.
2. One-Sixth of the World’s Population Celebrates Chinese New Year
Numerous countries around the world take part in the festivities and tradition behind the Chinese lion dance. Parts of Southeast Asia including China, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines celebrate the holiday.
3. Lion’s Dance Dragons Can Take Up to 200 Men to Carry
The original Chinese Lion costumes were fairly small in comparison to today’s elaborate and extensive dragons. The smaller lions can be carried and performed with 5 men. It can stretch up to 200 men. The World Record for the longest dragon is 200 men.
4. Dates of the Chinese New Year Lion Dance Performance Change Annally
Because the Lion and Dragon dance festival revolve around the Chinese New Year, dates for the holidays’ celebratory events are different each year. Unlike holidays in Western countries, the Chinese do not follow the Gregorian calendar. They traditionally follow the Lunar calendar. As such, the Lion’s Dance festivities occur during Chinese New Year, which can start between January 21st and February 20th.
5. Lion Costumes Must Be Decorated with the Red Ribbon
Lions without the red ribbon are considered to be still “asleep” and must not be used to perform the lion dance. The color red symbolizes prosperity, good health, and good luck.
6. During the Celebration, the Youth Receive Red Envelopes
The envelopes are filled with lucky money from the elders. This is to bestow upon the young generations continued prosperity. During and after the traditional New Year’s Eve dinner, people typically stay up late, and exchange red envelopes (hóngbāo, 红包). The Lion’s Dance festivities, while being a spectacular event, serve as a testament to the collective energy required. The celebration itself- from the elaborate costumes to the trained martial arts performers- requires a great deal of fortitude to go over successfully. All of these efforts are put in place in the hopes of yielding enhanced health and prosperity for the entire community.