Lion Dances Picture

Mythology based on Wiki

According to tales and legends, the beginning of Chinese New Year started with the fight against a mythical beast called the Nian (Chinese: 年; pinyin: nián). Nian would come on the first day of New Year to eat livestock, crops, and even villagers, especially children. To protect themselves, the villagers would put food in front of their doors at the beginning of every year. It was believed that after the Nian ate the food they prepared, it wouldn’t attack any more people. One time, people saw that the Nian was scared away by a little child wearing red. The villagers then understood that the Nian was afraid of the colour red. Hence, every time when the New Year was about to come, the villagers would hang red lanterns and red spring scrolls on windows and doors. People also used firecrackers to frighten away the Nian. From then on, Nian never came to the village again. The Nian was eventually captured by Hongjun Laozu, an ancient Taoist monk. The Nian became Hongjun Laozu's mount.

Chinese New Year is never complete without some lion dances, and this is one of the best shots that I've got of a nice lion dance. We often bring in lion dances to our house during Chinese New Year as a totem to bless the house with good fortune, and most Chinese businesses employ lion dancers to bless their business to prosper.

Lion dancers do this mostly as a sort of sporting or freelance event, and not much people make a career out of it because of its seasonal occupation, so you don't really get much money out of it. All you get is probably some red money packets as a token of appreciation. There are lion dancing competitions held in certain countries and you really need to train yourself hard for it and get a good sense of balance and coordination between yourself and your team mate, whoever is the one getting either end of the costume. An example of such competition is like here--> [link]

The usual ritual would be to play firecrackers to announce their arrival, invite the lions into our homes, pay respects to the ancestral altar, and let them dance around the house blessing the place, then later put some fruit offerings, usually oranges or big pamelo melons for them to "eat" (which actually they just bring it underneath their costume to cut and arrange them into a pretty design), "poo" it out and bless the house some more before we have a photo session and give the dancers red money packets for their effort.

Apparently the design of the lion during the lion dance is following the Nian's form, so if Nian looked like those little cute cuddly creatures, I'd rather not scare it off at all
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