Welcoming the Lion
When you invite the Lion, you are a gracious host. Naturally, there are some basic manners to follow. The following is a very basic starting point. The Lion dance adapts to many different occasions. We can advise you if needed!
Preparation of the Lucky Greens
Greens: Leave the lettuce core and leaves intact. Romaine lettuce is the most common choice.
Red Pocket: Fill the hongbao with the money amount then close it. You can use some tape if there are loose coins involved.
Assemble: Attach the hongbao to the greens by using an elastic band. Easy! Now you have a qing (ching; offering to the Lion) ready to go!
Tie a string to the offering if you plan on hanging it up for the Lion to retrieve.
Typically, one qing offering is prepared for each Lion.
When and How to Offer the Lucky Greens
In the course of the dance, the Lion goes in search for the offered Greens (qing). If you are hanging the qing, you should have them in place before the dance begins.
If a person is offering the Greens to the Lion, they can be cued by our Team when to enter the performance area to interact with the Lion. Normally two hands are used to respectfully offer the qing.
The Lion Team is very adaptable and can make almost any setting work well. Naturally, on an even surface area, a horseshoe or circle arrangement affords the best view to the most people. VIP or a key area of focus should be positioned to the front.
Manners: The Lion is always treated with respect. It is viewed as benevolent, often even playful, but not to be mistaken as a pet or mascot.
Touching the Lion: Briefly and very gently is fine, and only the colourful fabric of the body, the limbs or fur. The eyes, ears, mouth, horn and spiritual mirror are not handled. In general, the Lion, being regarded as a sacred and spiritual being, is not to be handled by the audience.
Flying lettuce and greens: when the Lion spits these greens out, it is the good luck coming out to the people and the area. Obviously, throwing the Greens back is a no-no. For safety, pieces of lettuce may be collected and removed from the performance area after the dance is concluded. Many still observe the custom of retaining the pieces for a period of time after the dance before recycling as the greens, blessed by the Lion, are said to be charged with positive energy.
Background Quick Facts
The Lion Dance dates back to the Han dynasty. It has evolved to its modern forms--there are several--with traditions stemming from military and civilian/folk customs.
There are many legends telling of the Lion's origins. In all forms, the Lion is viewed as a messenger from heaven, capable of bringing good luck.
Different coloured Lions have different personalities, attiributes and symbolism.
A Lion team consists of two lion players in each Lion, a drummer, a gong and one or more cymbal players.
The Lion and musicians interact, each leading and following. Each step and musical rhythm represents a different meaning.
It takes about three years of training in order to perform the dance but takes many more years of training in order to become very good.
The real master of the Lion Dance also understands Chinese martial arts.
The Lion dance is often used expressively as a form of entertainment.
Traditional Lion dance is more than that. There is a relationship between medicine, fengshui and astrology and the Lion Dance and it is viewed that the Lion Dance can influence one's health, fate and fortune.