|A traditional Chinese New Year Lion Dance|
Sunday marked the beginning of the 15-day celebration that is Chinese New Year. Penang is about 40% ethnic Chinese, so this is one of the major holidays in town. Let me tell you, it's a very noisy time of year. Every night, people shoot off fireworks. During the day, the sounds of lion dances permeate throughout the city. Sometimes, they dance at private homes. Other times, it's at a business or out in public.
First come the loud "Pop! Pop! Pop!"of the firecrackers. Next is the rhythmic drumming. I've been at home almost all day, and I've heard it outside my window at least 6 times. When it starts up, I run around, peering out, trying to figure out the source. Sometimes, all I can see is a cloud of firecracker smoke rising up behind trees. Other times, I catch the tail-end of the performance.
|Performers setting up|
On Monday morning, I took a break from watching the Grammy Awards live on TV, and ran over to catch a lion dance from the beginning. Preparations included draping a nearby Mercedes with a bedsheet to protect it from the 7 meter string of firecrackers hanging next to it.
|If you owned this Mercedes, would you mind them protecting it from firecrackers with merely a bedsheet?|
|Loud drums, gongs and cymbals provide music for the dance|
|In Chinese, the words "tangerine" and "orange" sound like the words for "luck" and "wealth".|
These fruits are a common part of the Chinese New Year celebration.
|The lion rolls tangerines to the crowd, spreading luck everywhere.|
|People reach into the lion's mouth to take the coins it's handing out.|
|Lions visit the hotel check-in desk to perform "cai-ching" by plucking a green leaf from above. |
This brings good luck and fortune to the company.
Check out my You Tube video if you want to see the dance in action.
On the other side of town, many Penangites gathered at the Barisan Nasional (a political party) Chinese New Year Open House to watch the trendy Psy perform his viral hit Gangnum Style and its accompanying Horsey Dance.