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Saturday, April 1, 2017

The Lion Dance

 This was in the lobby of the hotel, which might lead you to think that it was for tourists, but other than ourselves and one other couple, the majority of the audience were hotel employees.
The lion dance is a traditional Chinese dance that is performed on big occasions, such as the Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) for good luck, as it is believed that the lion is an auspicious animal
Performed in a lion costume, accompanied by the music of beating drums, clashing cymbals, and resounding gongs, lion dances imitate a lion's various movements or demonstrate martial arts agility, depending on the style.

The lion was only an animal which existed in myth for the average Chinese. Before the Han Dynasty (202 BC–220 AD), only a few lions had reached the Central Plains from the western area of ancient China (now Xinjiang), due to the Silk Roadtrade.  At that time, people mimicked the appearance and actions of the newly arrived lions in a performance, which developed into the lion dance in the Three Kingdoms Period (220–280) and then became popular with the rise of Buddhism in the Northern and Southern Dynasties (420–589). In the tang (618–907), the lion dance was one of the court dances.  We saw a Southern China version of the dance, which focuses on the gyrations of the two lions who fight, and ultimately one of them grabs the dangling lettuce.  Not sure why that is such a catch, except that in modern China it is also associated with a red envelope of money.

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