How to Prepare an Offering to the Lion
The Hong Bao: Basic Offering
Chinese red pocket (lucky money envelope, hongbao or lai si) is filled with an amount of money. The amount depends on the situation, but in general generosity is viewed as a mirror: what you give, may you also receive tenfold.
This is the most basic offering to a Lion. It represents appreciation and a wish for the Lion's blessings. This offering is typically given by an individual on behalf of themselves. It is appropriately given with two hands with respectful demeanor.
When the Lion makes an appearance, individuals can offer their hongbao to the Lion during the dance. The best time to do so is after the Lion obtains the main offering of Greens (see below) when it passes near during the latter part of the dance.
The Lucky Greens: Customary Offering
This is the standard offering when welcoming the Lion to your home, school or place of business, or when the Lion is performing for a special event. This offering contains two parts: money and greens.
Money: a Chinese red pocket (lucky money envelope, hongbao or lai si) filled with money, attached to a green vegetable.
If you've hired our team, you may choose to place the performance fees inside the red pocket. If the payment is delivered to us by other means, you should still place a token amount of cash inside the red pocket. This is an observance of the custom of the offering. An empty envelope should never be offered and greens by themselves are incomplete.
As part of the offering to the Lion, an auspicious monetary value--normally an even amount, is chosen. In the culture, each number has a meaning. Amounts containing the number four (4) are almost entirely avoided. The number eight (8) points to fortune and property. The number nine (9) to continuity and longevity, for example. Read here for more information on customary monetary offerings in Lion culture.
Type of Greens and Other Offerings: A green leafy lettuce, such as romaine or a red tipped green leaf lettuce is very easy to obtain and prepare. Other varieties of greens are fine. In the Lion culture, each different fruit or vegetable has a symbolic meaning, and may be selected to convey a unique invocation and wish. Meat is not used. Other items, again each with a secret meaning, are often incorporated into the offering to the Lion. TheThis requires proper knowledge to be done appropriately.
The offering of the hongbao with the greens is known as a qing (ching). In its myriad formats and presentations, the qing is a symbolic puzzle that the lion must solve. Correctly solving and obtaining the greens is said to unlock the meaning behind it, and is the ultimate expression of blessings brought forth by the Lion Dance.
Who May Offer Lucky Greens to a Lion
Any person may be selected for the offering of the Lucky Greens. Most appropriately, it is a person of any age, chosen as an honoured representative.