Monday, September 19, 2011

Dancing with the Dragon

We were able to watch our first Dragon Dance, while enjoying the 2011Moon Festival. It was beautiful, facinating, and rich in Chinese culture. Here is some information about the traditon, from

Dragon dance (simplified Chinese: 舞龙; traditional Chinese: 舞龍; pinyin: wǔ lóng) is a form of traditional dance and performance in Chineseculture. Like the lion dance it is most often seen in festive celebrations. Many Chinese peopleoften use the term "Descendants of the Dragon" (龍的傳人 or 龙的传人, lóng de chuán rén) as a sign of ethnic identity, as part of a trend started in the 1970s. Another derivation is from (農的傳人) i.e. the descendants of Shennong, the legendary first king of the Chinese people who taught them agriculture, law and medicine, the foundationsof civilization.

In the dance, a team of people carry the dragon — which is an image of the Chinese dragon — on poles. A dragon can be composed of up to 50 people. The dance team does mimic the supposed movements of this river spirit in a sinuous, undulating manner. The movements in a performance traditionally symbolize historical roles of dragons demonstrating power and dignity. The dragon dance is a highlight of Chinese New Yearcelebrations held worldwide in Chinatowns around the world.

Dragons are believed to bring good luck to people, which are reflected in their qualities that include great power, dignity, fertility (sex), wisdom and auspiciousness. The appearance of a dragon is both frightening and bold but it has a benevolent disposition, and so eventually became an emblem to represent imperial authority.