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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Dragon Roars and Lion Dances!

With Chinese New Year coming up quickly everyone looks forward to the Lion and Dragon dances. People tend to group these dances together but they're actually two different things depending on the folklore you read. The Dragon dance above is usually performed by 10 or more people and consists of twirling a huge vivid long dragon. The dragon is viewed as a powerful, dignified and a symbol of Royalty and known as a symbol of bringing great wealth and luck. The dance itself may seem like just a rolling wave but in actuality requires a lot of skill and teamwork to coordinate such a large creature. Sometimes up to nine of these Dragons dance together in highly organized patterns.

Living in New York City there's always at least one but it's catching it at the right time is a bit tricky though I've been lucky enough to catch three. Due to the huge size and the amount of work needed the Dragon dance is rare to find. It's amazing to see the whirling dragon amidst the tall buildings and asphalt because its such a clash of modern day and ancient traditions. People old and young absolutely stand mesmerized by these displays and there's more then a huge crowd of tourists to take in the sights.

The Lion Dance is different as that its usually two people performing using various forms of martial arts as the basis for the movements. The lions are meant to scare away bad spirits and bring in good luck and fortune (see a running theme in everything about Chinese New Year?) There are also two different types of Lion Dance one of Northern China which are usually has more dangerous tricks and stunts and the Southern China which is more symbolic. The ones in NYC are usually Southern Style due to the fact that the majority of Chinese immigrants are from the south.

There are three types of lions. A golden lion that represents liveliness, red lion meaning courage and the green lion represents friendship. Though there are also lions and associated dances to other things in Chinese history like the historical figures in The Romance of the Three Kingdoms (Which is also the basis for Dynasty Warriors the game XD... hehe).

Here's a List I compiled though research on various Celebrations though out the world. Most of the festivities are free but some require tickets like the performances etc. I've organized it by Country and then by their location. (You can use CTRL + F key and put in your location and search from there) Most have links and if a link is broken or the information not correct or you want to add something just post a respond and I'll add it on, it there's anything else I find I'll also add it on =):

United States
New York City:
Chinese Lunar New Year in New York City: 2010 - list of CNY activities in the city - Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.

Seattle, Washington
Seattle Chinatown Website - there are activities listed on the right side

San Francisco, California
San Francisco Chinatown Site - scroll down to February and look at the events.. I put direct links below to some of these events =)
Chinese New Year Festival and Parade
Chinese New Year Flower Fair
Chinatown Community Street Fair

Los Angeles, California
Golden Dragon Parade
Chinese American Museum

Washington D.C.
Chinese New Year Parade and Festival : February 21, 2010. 2 - 5 p.m., Giant Firecracker set off at 3:45 p.m. Chinatown - on H Street, NW, between 6th and 8th Streets.

Falls Church, Virginia
2010 Chinese New Year Festival

Honolulu, Hawaii
Honolulu Chinatown Website - here's the event dates scroll down to February for Chinese New Year Events

Monterey Park, California
2010 Chinese New Year Festival

Vancouver, British Columbia
Annual Vancouver Chinese New Year Parade - scroll down to 2010
Dr. Sun Yat Sen: Chinese Garden Celebration
More about Vancouver Chinatown

Calgary, Alberta
Calgary Chinese Cultural Center: Chinese New Year Events

Montreal, Quebec
Chinese New Year Celebration
Montreal Chinatown Website
Montreal Botanical Gardens - may or may not have a celebration but they do have a lovely Chinese Garden

CCC Chinese New Year Celebration

2010 New Year Scouts Day
- you may have to check this one it's supposedly scheduled as thus:
February 20, 2010 (Saturday) 10:15AM-4:00PM Taipei Cultural Centre Markham Road & Highway 401
Chinese New Year’s Art Exhibition and Diversity Achievement Celebration Location: Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Toronto, 5183 Sheppard Avenue East, Scarborough, Ontario February 14 (Chinese New Years Day) 10 a.m.

United Kingdom
Chinese New Year 2010
London Chinatown Site

Birmingham Chinese Festival

National Museum of Wales: Chinese New Year Family Fun Day

Chatham, Kent
Chinese New Year Celebrations -
apparently the 3rd largest CNY celebration in the UK =D

Year of the Tiger - New Year Party - The Confuscious Insititue for Scotland
Edinburgh Zoo also has a celebration of their own =D

Liverpool Chinatown Celebration

Chinese New Year Celebration
Manchester Art Gallery

Chinese New Year spectacular with fireworks finale. From 4:30p.m., February 12, 2010 at the Lakeside Arts Centre in University Park

Sheffield Chinese New Year Celebration 2010

Chinese New Year & Valentines Weekend Extravaganza(Festival of Love)


Pili said...

Wow, another amazing load of information to absorb! Thanks a lot, Li! I really enjoy learning things about the Chinese New Year!

Rosebud Collection said...

You know, I would have enjoyed seeing the dragon dance..lion too.
What a wonderful celebration.
Years ago, took our youngest daughter to Chinatown and what a wonderful time we had..Notice the name Mott street..well our last name is Mott..Anyway, we bought soup dishes and when the grandchildren are here, we let them have soup in them with the spoons..they think they are something special..of course they are with us..ha, ha..

Jennifer Juniper said...

I would love to see this someday, it looks so fun and colorful!

Are you covered with snow there yet?

Littleclouds said...

I've never seen the dragon, only the lion now your mention it, do you know what it means when they 'eat' the lettuce which is usually hung at the top of somewhere high?

oooh you making me excited to be in Hong Kong for CNY now!
We asked about where we should be as we don't live centrally but apparently everything is everywhere which is exciting but scary!

Will take extra photos for you :P