It is common belied prevalent in China that the people of China are the
antecedents of dragon. Dragon is in fact, a chimerical creature with strong
features of other animals like a deer, fish, tiger, lion, horse, ox, donkey,
snake and vulture.
This divine counterfeit animal is considered as a possessor of super
natural powers, it can walk on the land, swim in the sea and fly in the air
and is the deity of wind and rain. Chinese people believe that the dragon is
mascot and epitome of valor, honor, fortune, power and prosperity. The
belief is so much intensely embedded over Chinese mind that the holy Dragon
can be seen almost everywhere in Chinese people's life.
The Legendary Dragon Dance
The dragon dance is an important festive tradition in China. Initially the
dance used to be performed to please the deity of water, for rain during
drought years. Gradually it took a form of enjoyment and formed a
significant part of all festive occasions, especially during the Spring
Festival and Lantern Festival.
The dragons are normally contrived out of bamboo, wood, cloth and paper,
usually it is huge creation sometimes even ranging to more than 100 m. There
are poles attached to the belly of the dragon. During the show, performers
hold the poles and raise the dragon, starting the grand dance with the beats
of roaring drums. The dragon mask and body used for the dance is colored
gold, green or fire red.
The Dragon Dance can be performed in the daytime or at night, if it is
performed at night, then, it is preceded by carrying a burning torch to
lighten, making the whole performance even more engaging.
The Lion- the Symbol of Valor
The lion is a symbol of power and pride, dignity and bravery, capable of
fighting off evil spirits. In Chinese mythology, lion is the 9th son of the
dragon and was considered as the foremost protector, still, it is usually
seen in front of royal palaces and big houses.
The Traditional Lion Dance
Besides, the Dragon Dance, the Lion Dance also has a long history in the
Chinese tradition, it was originally used for worship and to pray for rain,
but now the dance is performed for entertainment. The Lion dance is usually
performed with the dragon dance on auspicious occasions. A good performance
is believed to bring luck and happiness. The captivating Lion Dance can be
enjoyed at the time of Chinese New Year or on any traditional festival.
Lion dance requires more Wushu -Kung Fu expertise than dragon dance. There
are usually two performers who bring life to lion. One, managing the lion's
head, leads the dance and depicts the lion's emotions. The other plays the
body and the tail. They hide themselves under a cloth fur attached with the
head. Musicians playing a drum, a gong and cymbals also accompany the lion.
There is also a third person - a man who allures the lion, and carries a
silk flower ball or wears a mask of the laughing Buddha with a banana-leaf
fan in one hand. He further magnifies the level of merriment of the Lion
Dance by dodging from left to right, jumping all around to create a lively
entertainment, driving lion crazy.