A couple of week-ends ago, there were two funny visitors at the London supermarket of Black River: Chinese dragons. They were celebrating the Chinese Spring Festival.
At first nothing much happened as the two ‘dragons’ sat there peacefully in front of the shop.
(I’ve been told that when two people operate these ‘dragons’, it is referred to as the ‘lion’ dance… but they definitely look more like dragons to me!)
Then, with the loud banging noise from the big drum, cymbals & gong (scaring off some of the smaller children), they started investing the premises.
The two ‘dragons’ went through the whole shop, the tills, the store area and the food outlet while amused tourist and excited children (and me) followed them around the alleys.
Lots of people were taking pictures and some had little red envelopes to put in their mouths. These envelopes are called ‘Foong Pao and contains money. They are given on special occasions and in this case, as a reward to the dance performers.
The two ‘dragons’ were accompanied by the music beat, dictating the rhythms of the dance.
Here is a little peak inside of one of the ‘dragons’ mouth…
Sometimes, when space allowed for it, they did some more elaborate movements.
It was a really fun half an hour and the visit finished outside with a bunch of fireworks going off.
I think that the dragon represents power, wealth and good luck and that the tradition to have them dancing around in the stores (or is it the fireworks going off?) is to scare away the evil spirits and all the bad luck with them so that the year to come is a good one.
What about you? Did you ever see a dragon dance? Where did you see it? What do you think it represents?