Lion Dance and The Lantern Festival

On the 19th February 2019, which will be the 15th day of 1st lunar month, the Chinese will celebrate the Lantern Festival.

元宵节 (yuánxiāojié) or (Yuanxiao Festival), also known as the Shang Yuan Festival (simplified Chinese: 上元节; traditional Chinese: 上元節; pinyin: shàngyuánjié) is a Chinese festival celebrated on the fifteenth day of the first month in the lunar year in the Chinese calendar. During the Lantern Festival, children go out at night to temples carrying rabbit-shaped lanterns. The 15th day of the 1st lunar month is the Chinese Lantern Festival because the first lunar month is called yuan-month and in the ancient times people called night Xiao.

The 15th day is the first night to see a full moon. According to the Chinese tradition, at the very beginning of a new year, when there is a bright full moon hanging in the sky, there should be thousands of colorful lanterns hung out for people to appreciate. At this time, people will try to solve the puzzles on the lanterns and eat yuanxiao (glutinous rice ball) and get all their families united in the joyful atmosphere.'' - wikipedia

Lion Dance is a Chinese folk arts especially during the Spring Lantern Festival Celebrations. This custom originated in the Three Kingdoms period. It has been a 1000 years of history. Percussion music mainly drums, gong and cymbals. The performers mimic a lion's movements in a lion costume.

Chinese lion dances can be broadly categorised into two styles, Northern (北狮) and Southern (南狮). Northern dance was used as entertainment for the imperial court. The northern lion is usually red, orange, and yellow (sometimes with green fur for the female lion), shaggy in appearance, with a golden head. The northern dance is acrobatic and is mainly performed as entertainment. Sometimes, they perform dangerous stunts.

Southern dance is more symbolic. It is usually performed as a ceremony to exorcise evil spirits and to summon luck and fortune. The southern lion exhibits a wide variety of colour and has a distinctive head with large eyes, a mirror on the forehead, and a single horn at center of the head.


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