We took the kids down to Chinatown in Philadelphia this past weekend to watch the Traditional Lion Dance as part of the Chinese New Year Celebration. This is a dance that has been part of the Chinese culture for many years. It is performed on major occasions such as wedding or when a store opens. The lion is a symbol of power, good fortune and wisdom. When the dance is performed it is thought to chase away the evil spirits and bestow happiness, luck and good fortune. During the Chinese New Year Celebration the Lion dance is performed in front of many of the businesses to bestow good luck and fortune on the proprietors and business in general for the upcoming year. The Lion dance is sometimes confused with the Dragon dance. The physical difference in the two dances are obvious in that the Lion dance if performed with two martial arts students in the costume of the Lion and the Dragon dance is a huge dragon where many people are under the dragon holding it up.
We were a little confused trying to figure out where to watch the Lion dance but we soon caught on after following a trail of Lettuce and firecracker papers. The dance was being performed on a specific route and also going from business to business.
The dance was really fascinating to watch. We all really enjoyed it and the firecrackers being set off everywhere was so festive. We all loved the sounds of the drums during the dance. At the end of the dance we listened and watched a huge line of exploding firecrackers that extended up a 4 story building. It was so amazing and loud.
After we spent time observing the Lion Dance we all went into the Chinese Bazaar and then the Chinese Arts stores. This was really fun. There where lots and lots of completely fascinating decorations everywhere. We bought a few things to use for our celebration dinner we were planning for the kids the next day.
We had so much fun and it was a gorgeous day with lots of sunshine and warmer weather.