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Dances, drums, and dongs welcome Stoneridge Shoppers to the Dragon Year

At+the+Stoneridge+Mall%2C+lion+dancing%2C+skill+that+requires+consistent+practice+often+incorporating+acrobatics+and+martial+arts%2C+was+performed.
Yatin Bayya
At the Stoneridge Mall, lion dancing, skill that requires consistent practice often incorporating acrobatics and martial arts, was performed.

On Feb. 3, Stoneridge Mall hosted the annual lion dance performance. This celebrated the start of the 2024 Chinese Lunar New Year, the Dragon Year, and the end of the Rabbit Year.

Origins of the Chinese New Year Dance

Carrying on for thousands of years, it originates from a legend about a mythical beast called Nian. The animal zodiac signs go back to a story about a race and the distinctive traits associated with each participant.

“The dragon itself is one step above the Lion. It’s all about wisdom, and also prosperity, wealth, safety, and the whole thing,” said dance performer Darren San.

The lion dance mimics a lion’s movements to tell a story. Two people, front and back, wear the costume to control it. It is commonly accompanied by drum beats that represent the heartbeat and symbols representing the thoughts.

“The main purpose of the event is that in Chinese culture, it is believed to scare away evil spirits and negative energy and bring prosperity for the new year. Our main goal of doing this show is to help bring the new year. And welcome everyone with good fortune, prosperity, and luck,” said dance performer Raymond Uye.

Chinese traditions also include gifting red envelopes of money to family and friends to wish them good health and growth. People also wear red during Chinese New Year, believing it wards off evil spirits and brings good luck.

“We basically celebrate a reunion with families and friends. We give food and money to each other. New Year’s is kind of our thing to get together,” said staff Aaron Hsu.

 

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  • The dance performances was joined by the energetic beat of the drums and gongs.

  • Volunteers hold up the dragon. It is believed that the longer the dragon in the dragon dance, the more luck that will be brought.

  • The lion dance is a story about navigating through obstacles before finally getting an object, such as a vase.

LionDanceME’s New Year initiative at Stoneridge

The San Francisco-based dance performance group, LionDanceME, connects people to the culture through shows every Saturday afternoon in Chinatown.

“For different communities, think about Christmas or New Year’s, that’s when a lot of people tend to get together. For us Asian Americans, Chinese New Year is that time for celebration, culture, heritage, and coming together as a community,” said San.

In addition to being a key performance in the New Year and other festivals, the lion dance is also commonly done on various occasions. They are performed at weddings, and business events to honor special guests.

“We train all year long. It never really stops, but it definitely ramps up in October, November, and in December. we are training real hard just to make it through January and February,” said San.

Celebrations of the new Chinese Lunar with the lion dance have been an annual tradition at the Stoneridge Mall. 

“I joined Lion Dance because I watched Lion Dance growing up, and I just want to take a leap and do it. Lion Dance is a really big prevalent part as well since the Lion symbolizes prosperity, wealth, and just overall good luck to scare away evil spirits,” said San.

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    IanFeb 7, 2024 at 12:08 pm

    Another fantastic article by Yatin Bayya! The lion dance looks amazing!

    Reply