Come watch the very first ‘Awakening of the Dragon and Lion’ dance being held in Esquimalt! Volunteer Victoria youth programmers will be present so that it can be a shared experience for youth hoping to celebrate the Lunar New Year and explore the beauty of another culture 🙂
Origin of lion dance
The lion dance dates back to 3rd century BC. There are many myths of how lions and lion dance originated. The lion is not a native animal of China. One myth is also the origin of the lunar New Year celebration. There was a monster named “nian” (year) that came to the village once a year to eat the harvest and the people. The villagers always fled to the mountains to avoid being eaten by “nian.” One year a lion showed up and chased away the monster however in the following year the lion wasn’t there. The villagers made a lion costume and had two people wear it to scare away “nian,” in addition to the lion the villagers wore red and played loud drums and set off firecrackers, since “nian” didn’t like any of these either this is why the lunar new year is celebrated with all these aspects. The lion eats lettuce which is known as Saang choy in Cantonese, if it eats lettuce the act is said to symbolize spreading wealth and prosperity, being hit with the lettuce it spits out is considered lucky. The Lion Dance is a Chinese folk tradition and an important part of traditional kung fu schools. It is an essential part of Chinese holidays as well as important functions such as weddings and business openings. Lion dancing is performed at such events to ward off evil spirits and bring good fortune, happiness and prosperity.