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Gong Xi Fa Cai!

28 January 2014 by Louise

Picture of the lion dancers with the front end of the lion stood on a barrell while the laughing monk watches

See this spectacular dance performed at the Lady Lever!

New Year may seem a distant memory, but this Friday sees another round of festivities begin with Chinese New Year and this year is the Year of the Horse.

It is customary for dance groups to perform a Lion Dance to celebrate Chinese New Year. This tradition dates back to third century BC in the early Ch’in and Han Dynasties; dance groups would tour villages performing the dance from the fourth to the fifteenth day of the Chinese New Year.

The dance is performed by two dancers, one at the head and one at the tail. Instead of the dancers following the music, the music mimics the dancers. The drum follows the dancer and the cymbals and the gong follow the drum.

The lion expresses joy and happiness and is thought to bring luck so is an apt symbol for ringing in the new year. On the head of the lion is a mirror so that evil spirits will be frightened away by their own reflections. A laughing monk, dressed in monk’s robes and a mask, accompanies the lion.

You can see this wonderfully symbolic and mesmeric dance at the Lady Lever Art Gallery on Sunday 16 February where there will be three performances from Liverpool’s Hung Gar Kung Fu Club at 1pm, 2pm and 3pm. Plus, keep children busy with crafts and activities, which will be on throughout the afternoon and also during half term on 19 February from 1-4pm.

There are also activities taking place at our other venues to celebrate the Chinese New Year, including traditional Chinese dancing by China Pearl’s Fenfen Huang at the Museum of Liverpool and Chinese New Year crafts at the Merseyside Maritime Museum; for more details see the Chinese New Year events page on the website.

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