Once again, Chinese New Year is around the corner! Those of you who have been living in Singapore know that Chinese New Year is one of the major public holidays and traditional festivals to experience. This year is the Year of Dog and the decorations of cute puppies or dogs can be seen in many shopping malls, main streets and even office buildings.
Besides going shopping for chinese new year goodies, there are many events to be experienced in Singapore including the cultural Chinatown. Not only Chinatown will be bustling with many stalls selling Chinese New Year items, but there will be notable performances happening every night from 27 January 2018.
These performances often include dancing, singing and entertainment. Of course, not to forget, lion dance is something not to be missed during Chinese New Year. These lion dances are usually troupes engaged by the companies to perform during auspicious dates as these dances are believed to scare away evil spirits and bring good luck, prosperity and wealth to them.
The lion costume is usually held up by two performers who are usually completely covered except for their legs, with one at the head of the lion while the other at the tail. They will undulate the lion’s body according to the percussion of the chinese drums and sometimes may even roll around the floor or jump from a pole to another taller pole to retrieve the green lettuce (“cai qing”). Usually the green lettuce also has a red packet “hong bao” tied to it as payment for the blessing. After catching the green lettuce, the lion dancers will tear or spit the lettuce out to the audience. As in chinese “picking raw vegetable” is pronounced as “sang choi” in Cantonese which means “to produce or create” and “choi” also mean wealth. That’s how lion dance bring prosperity and wealth. Sometimes you may also see the lion dance eat mandarin oranges.
Traditionally there are different troupes performing lion dance, hence sometimes you may see two lions competing for the green lettuces. As usually these lion dances also meant to display the two set of performers’ martial art moves and prowess, though this is not as common nowadays.
With the various acrobatic acts and the fast beats of the drums, the performers need to practise their coordination and maintain a good level of fitness to keep up. Usually these dances also may last from 15 to 30 minutes depending on the scale of performance, thus this dance also require good stamina and endurance. Although this dance is usually done by young men, nowadays women can also pick this up!
If you have a chance, do drop by The Centrepoint on 19, 20 & 21 February 2018 to watch the Lion Dance jumping on high pole and cai qing about 1pm & 6pm.
Check out our other types of dance classes in our website to start a healthier lifestyle today!