We spent Chinese New Year in Las Vegas & enjoyed a ‘taste of home’ at the local CNY Festival where we saw the traditional Lion Dance as the central part of the celebration. The Lion Dance has been part of Chinese culture for the longest time. It’s history goes all the way back to the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC). The belief is that the Lion will drive away evil spirits at the beginning of the New Year; therefore bringing along a good harvest and prosperity for the whole year. It is common that an honored guest will paint on the Lion’s eyes in a ceremonial way, before the dance, signifying the giving of life to the Lion. – The Lion Dance mostly happens during Chinese New Year, also known as “Spring Festival” in China. But today, you can also see these dances at an opening of new business because it signifies “good fortune” for the owner.
This first video is the start of the Spring Festival Opening Ceremony in Las Vegas, NV – Feb 2015
This second video is the kids that are training to become excellent Lion Dancers one day.
This third video is the finale of the Spring Festival Opening Ceremony in Las Vegas, NV – Feb 2015
Culture Lessons: Family is viewed as a closely united group of living and dead relatives. Ancestor worship is the belief that deceased family members’ spirits will look after the family, take an interest in the affairs of the world, and possess the ability to influence the fortune of the living. “Spring Festival” (Chinese New Year) is a 2 week period, after the Lunar New Year, when millions of people in all of China travel home to their relatives, it truly seems as if all of China is traveling at the same time! They will all gather as a group to offer incense, food & prayers to ancestors and various gods or deities. This is a way of ‘taking care’ of the ancestors who have brought them into the world & provided for the lifestyle they enjoy. The ancestors will in turn, “take care” of the living in the same manner & to the same degree. Only after respect has been paid can one continue with the New Year’s festivities. What will follow, in Chinese tradition, will be the biggest feast of the year, with new activities for each day of the festival.