VIDEO: Island leaps into year of the rabbit with celebrations in Victoria’s Chinatown
Paper Mache

VIDEO: Island leaps into 12 months of the rabbit with celebrations in Victoria’s Chinatown

Lion dancers will deliver within the Lunar New Yr to Victoria’s Chinatown to have a good time the upcoming Yr of The Rabbit with music, meals and custom.

Celebrations of Lunar New Yr, additionally referred to as Chinese language New Yr, are steeped in traditions that go way back to time and whereas the primary day of the brand new 12 months falls on Jan. 22, celebrations will probably be held in Chinatown on Jan. 29. This 12 months’s celebration is sponsored by The Chinese language Consolidated Benevolent Affiliation.

On Jan. 22, you’ll discover most households enjoyable at dwelling, consuming meals and having fun with time with one another, Daniel Low stated. Low works with the Wong Sheung Kung Fu Membership, which offers lion dancers for particular occasions like weddings, enterprise openings and multi-cultural occasions, in addition to celebrations for Lunar New Yr.

“Chinese language New Yr to me, is like Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter all rolled into one,” he stated. “It’s about household, meals and celebrating coming collectively.”

Holding celebrations on the weekend following the precise begin of the brand new 12 months permits extra folks to return out and provides performers the prospect to spend the vacation with their households.

This 12 months, the lion dance parade and Kung Fu demonstrations will start on the Gates of Harmonious Curiosity and can transfer by downtown, visiting retailers who supply the vegetarian lion leafy greens and fortunate pink envelopes.

“When the lion sees a leafy vegetable, he says ‘Oh! I’m getting supplied, so I’m going to go cleanse’,” Low stated. “He goes to the enterprise or the storefront and does his dance and type of simply clears the dangerous vibes from the 12 months earlier than to make sure there are good vibes for the 12 months coming.”

These fashionable celebrations stem from the legend of a village within the mountains of China, which needed to scare away a monster yearly in the course of the spring harvest. The monster would come out of the mountains and wreak havoc on the village, ravaging the harvest and crops and killing animals.

“That monster, the sound it made, it could say “nian” and that sounds just like the phrase for 12 months in Chinese language,” Low stated. “For the Chinese language folks, the whole lot about superstition, we use quite a lot of phrase play.”

The custom of scaring off the monster is the place we get our fashionable model of the celebration, throughout which individuals beat a drum, symbolizing the lion’s coronary heart beat and bang on a gong, which changed the pots and pans villagers would hit to scare the Nian Monster away.

“That’s the delusion,” Low stated. “They’d assume, if we create the costume and make it extra ornate and have purpose-used devices and set off fireplace crackers for loud noise, it scares it off.”

The time period Lunar New Yr is used to embody the celebrations for each tradition that celebrates it. It’s also referred to as Tet by the Vietnamese, Solnal by Koreans and Losar by Tibetans. It’s also known as the Spring Competition, because it marks the harvest and starting of spring.

“Chinese language New Yr itself lasts for about 15 days,” Low stated. “Principally, its the Lunar New Yr – it’s the spring pageant, it’s the starting of spring, so persons are celebrating the welcoming of spring and the harvest.”

Historically, these chosen to take part within the lion dance had been probably the most superior of Kung Fu college students, as a result of the foot work and choreography of the lion was a direct reflection on the Kung Fu instructor. It was additionally reserved for male college students. Right now’s lion dance groups are extra inclusive, permitting ladies to take part in addition to much less skilled Kung Fu college students, however it’s nonetheless deeply entrenched in custom.

Every lion is embellished with shiny colors, historically simply black and pink, black and white or rainbow, however as we speak you could find lions of all colors. They’ve a mirror on their brow as a result of legend holds that if evil sees itself, will probably be scared away.

The frames are made from bamboo and the heads are made with paper mache, making them comparatively gentle, regardless of their sturdy look. The costume, nonetheless, continues to be difficult to carry up whereas shifting, leaping, kicking and pawing. Every lion requires two folks.

College students at Wong Sheung Kung Fu Membership practice for hours at a time, a number of occasions every week to excellent the foot work and self-discipline essential to placed on the 10-15-minute performances they do almost 10 occasions a month. The primary half of their coaching time is targeted solely on the apply of Kung Fu, which lays the inspiration they want as a way to do the lion dances.

The idea of cleaning dangerous auras and vibes from the 12 months earlier than is central to the lion’s goal, however different cleaning on new 12 months’s day is a nasty thought, stated Dr. Melissa Lee, CEO of the Chinese language Canadian Museum.

Lee stated superstition holds that cleansing on the primary day of lunar new 12 months places you susceptible to by chance clearing out good luck.

“So earlier than the precise begin of latest 12 months, everybody will clear and everybody will wash their hair and garments proper earlier than however on the precise new years day, no on will do it,” Lee stated.

This custom lasts for the primary few days of latest 12 months celebrations, which occur over a 15-day interval. These 15 days of celebration have a sensible goal, Lee stated, as many individuals in China work away from their dwelling cities. Throughout the 15 days of the brand new 12 months nonetheless, the whole lot shuts down to permit folks to journey dwelling and spend time with their kinfolk.

That is the 12 months of the rabbit, which Lee stated symbolizes luck and prosperity, however for some zodiac animals which don’t work together nicely with the rabbit, just like the snake or the rooster, it might probably imply dangerous vibes.

“It’s also associated to the character of the animal, so rabbits are supposed to be actually quick-minded and ingenuous,” Lee stated. “Everybody has their zodiac animal, so even should you’re not the 12 months of the rabbit – should you’re a the 12 months of the rooster or the dragon, there are additionally astrologers that may let you know how the rabbit interacts along with your animal and that manner you may see whether or not or not it’s a fortunate 12 months for you or if you might want to watch out.”

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Holidays and Seasonal EventsLunar New Yr

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