Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Ringing In The New Year, Chinese Style!

Monday was the start of the Chinese New Year & the Dallas Museum of Nature & Science was hosting a celebration! 2009 is the Year of the Ox, and Reese and I were excited as we headed to the museum to experience the festivities.
We were lucky enough to experience the USA Chin Woo Dragon & Lion Dance Team.

We learned that the Lion Dance is hundreds of years old. As the story goes, a small Chinese village was threatened & robbed by thiefs dressed as strange beasts. To ward off these robbers, the villagers created a costume that resembled a lion. Some villagers wore the lion costume & danced while others beat on pots, pans, & anything else that would make loud noises. With all the noise & the frightful costume, the villagers were able to keep the bandits away.

This led to the belief that the Lion Dance would scare away bad luck & evil spirits & bring in good luck for the new year. The Lion Dance was passed from generation to generation and is now included in the New Year celebrations as a token of thanks-giving.
We must be very safe from bad luck, because in such a small room, these instruments were loud!
We got to see the lion up close & personal....

And then the lion made his way through the crowd....and scared half the children to death! Not on purpose, mind you. But with it's blinking eyes, moving ears, very expressive face, and the sheer size of the lion, you can imagine it would be intimidating to some!
At one point, the lion got down low & helped spread "good luck" through the crowd. If you caught the peppermints & lettuce that were thrown out, it meant you'd have good luck!

Then the kids were given the chance to make music of their own....

And they even got to get inside the small lion & do their own dance!

One of the take-away activities was a mask to color, so when we got home Mommy colored the mask. Reese didn't want to color it himself, but he wanted it to be Mommy had fun coloring for a bit to make it scary!
He put on the mask, Mommy was the back half of the lion, & we did our own Lion Dance for Daddy!

We almost didn't go to the museum with our buddies this day, but I'm so glad I changed my mind! We had a memorable experience, & I think Reese will always remember when he turned into a lion in the Year of the Ox!

1 comment:

blessedintexas said...

I LUV your homemade lion and I bet your lion dance was quite impressive! Looks like you guys are sure to have a year full of good luck!