Chinese New Year Celebration: Lion Dance Performances
Chinese nuances are still felt today. By the way, do you know that one show is always enlivening the Lunar New Year? The answer is lion dance. Yup! The cheap entertainment that emerged and became one of the traditional Chinese arts is indeed enough to attract people’s attention. Moreover, the costumes worn by players are very colorful and can make children and adults enjoy it.
Initially, lion dance performances were banned by the government. But since the reign of former President Abdurahman Wahid, Chinese society was given the freedom to celebrate Chinese New Year and perform a lion dance performance. Judging from history, the existence of this traditional dance is said to have existed thousands of years ago, precisely in the era of the Chin Dynasty, which was around the 3rd century BC. As time went on, this art continued to grow and became popular in the era of the Southern-North Dynasty or Nan Bei, which is around the year 420 – 589 AD.
Then what is the appearance of the first lion dance in Indonesia? According to history, it is estimated that lion dance entered Indonesia in the 17th century when the South Chinese people arrived. This art became very famous when there were Chinese Hoa Hwee Koan associations. But because the political situation was not conducive, precisely at the time of the G30S / PKI, the lion dance performances were prohibited from staging.
According to Chinese people’s beliefs, lion dance performances are not only for artistic purposes, but also have the meaning to expel bad things that might happen. That’s why the lion dance has become an important part of Chinese new year traditions. It is always there during the Lunar New Year celebration so the evil spirits stay away. Colorful costumes also have their own meaning, such as green as a symbol of abundant harvest, yellow symbolizes fertility and soil, red means joy, and golden and silver colors that symbolize the festivity of a celebration.
If observed, there is one very distinctive movement that can certainly be seen during the lion dance, which is eating an envelope filled with money. This term is called ‘Lay See’ and will take place when half of the entire dance is played. When examined more deeply, the envelope is usually plastered with watercress vegetables which become a symbol as a gift for the Lion Lion.
The movements and dances performed by the players are very beautiful and demand the skills, balance and trust of each participant because the lion dance is synonymous with acrobatic art which requires them to jump, dance, and climb. Leg strength is also very important because the player must be agile and full of energy to complete all the attractions until the wasp of the gong and drum is finished.
Sometimes, lion dance players also have special provisions in the field of martial arts, such as wushu because these movements strongly support their actions when performing various attractions, both in narrow terrain, rolling on the floor, and when having to climb and jump over bollards high. Sometimes, the lion’s eyes flickered and continued to dance so beautifully. The head to tail waddle with movements that are so neat.
Accompanied by a drumming of blaring music, this Chinese new year tradition was used as an alternative for the wider community during Chinese New Year celebrations.
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