February 8, 2016
Kung Hei Fat Choi! Happy New Year (Cantonese)! The Chinese New Year 2016 lion dance in Hong Kong takes place at several venues across the city throughout the holiday and today we got a chance to watch a dance at Pacific Place Apartments in Admiralty.
I was selected as the “dot-the-eye” poker last minute which is a ceremony that inaugurates the lion dance that is normally performed by high-ranking dignitaries using pig´s blood, but this time….just me and a bit of red ink! I took my “pen” (more like a paintbrush) and dotted the flashing light eyeballs (representing the presence of spirits) on the lion so that the evil spirits can “foresee good and evil”. Then I dotted the lion’s mirror shield on top of the Lion’s forehead which scares away the evil spirits.
After the lion is blessed and awakened, I had to tie a ribbon around the lion’s horn, which is a symbol of honour and courage as well as a reminder for the lion to behave.
Then we got to sit back and watch the show, which is not a quiet event. Drums, gongs and cymbals are beaten galore, however, there is a rhyme and reason for these beats.
I have seen a dragon dance here as well and it is not to be confused with the lion dance. Both represent good luck and chasing away evil spirits, however, the main difference is that the lion dance is performed by only two dancers per lion costume and the dragon dance needs about a dozen.
Kung Hei Fat Choi!