Chinese Lion Dance traditions


Lion dance

Lion dance

The start of Chinese New Year, the Year of the Horse, will be exuberantly celebrated on Saturday 1 February 2014 from 1pm to 3pm in Chinatown Amsterdam. Liu He Men (六合門) Kung Fu School, Stichting Chinatown and the Chinese businesses and business association of Chinatown Amsterdam initiated this Chinese New Year celebration to bring back this old tradition, that had been away for a couple of years. During this festive day people can enjoy breath-taking lion dances and get to know five forgotten symbols of the lion dance tradition, for example the “Seven Star” (七星伴月), the “Crab” (蟹青) and the “Snake” (蛇青).

Traditional symbols in the Lion Dance

One of the most famous symbols being performed is “Seven Star” (七星伴月). Inspired by the teachings of fengshui and the galaxy the lion has to follow seven spots within the symbol to eventually bring good blessing and fortune.

Other traditional symbols that are going to be performed during the Chinese New Year Celebrations are:

“Crab” (蟹青) – in this symbol the Lion has to battle the Crab, an obstacle on the ground made of chopsticks, plates, oranges etc. The Lion can only defeat and eventually eat the Crab by using cunning attack techniques. Once defeated, this symbols brings the luck of earning good money.

 “Snake” (蛇青) – in stead of a Crab the Lion has to defeat a Snake in this symbol. Like the Crab, this obstacle is also made of daily attributes. In order to defeat this poisonous snake the Lion has to use totally different attack techniques compared to the Crab. In this symbol it is also of importance to eliminate the bad obstacles on the way for the new year to run smoothly.

 “Lion climbs the tower” (獅子上樓台) – this dance symbolises more success in the new year, step by step the lion climbs the tables, that symbolises the ‘tower’. This is a real challenge for the martial artists and it requires great teamwork.

 “Open the flag for success” (旗開得勝) – This dance is also about moving up, getting higher. In this symbol the lion has to open a flag with a Chinese New Year saying on it. The higher the flag hangs, the more success and good fortune it will bring in the new year.

Come to Chinatown Amsterdam and start your Year of the Horse with good fortune, good luck and blessings.

Please visit the following websites for more information about the Chinese New Year celebration and about the backgrounds of the traditional symbols of the Chinese Lion Dance.

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