It’s the Chinese New Year and this community is celebrating with a big parade. If any parade has a star, this character would certainly be it. It is a Chinese Dragon and he is performing a dance to welcome the New Year!
The Dragon Dance is thought to have originated during the Chinese Han Dynasty dating from 180-230 A.D. The presence of the dragon scares away evil sprits and attracts wealth, health and wisdom.
The dragon has important meaning in the Chinese culture. He is a helpful and friendly creature who symbolizes courage, good luck, power, dignity, wisdom and long life, to name just a few of his many noble characteristics. The Chinese dragon is an amphibious creature, that can swim through water, fly through the air or travel on land.
A dance dragon consists of three main parts: the head or mask, a long body, and a tail. The dragon is often seen chasing a pearl of wisdom. This chase symbolizes the dragon’s search for wisdom and knowledge.
Dragons come in all lengths, but a typical dance dragon is about 112 feet long and consists of about 9 dancers. It is thought that the longer the dragon, the more luck he brings with him. The dragon is accompanied by drums, cymbals and gongs. Symbolically, the noise from these instruments helps to scare away evil spirits. However, the drums play an important role in telling the dancers what movements to perform. A dragon dance requires lots of skill and teamwork on the part of its members.
Another star of the New Year’s parade is this character. It is a Chinese Lion and he is performing a Lion Dance. The Chinese Lion Dance also performs the duties of scaring away evil spirits and bringing prosperity and luck. In addition, the lion is considered to be a protector or guardian. You can always tell the difference between the lion and the dragon because the lion dance is performed by only 2 people. These dancers are often masters of martial arts and perform difficult acrobatic skills.
Dragon and lion dances are seen most commonly during New Year’s celebrations, but they can also be performed during other festivals, or during the opening of new businesses or community centers.
Watching these performances is a fun and exciting way to start any New Year.
Presents the Chinese Dragon Dance, its origins, symbolism and description. Also includes scenes of Chinese Lion Dancers and discusses the similarities and differences between the two.