One of my fondest childhood memories is watching lion dance performance at my grandparents’ place during CNY period. The distinct sound of clanging cymbals and drums signalled the arrival of a troupe and kids in the neighbourhood poured into the streets shouting “舞狮来咯~!”. Lorries ferrying people, colourful banners, flags, props screeched to a stop, and performers disembarked from the vehicle to get ready for the day.
Households who’d like these troupes to perfom the customary “cai ching” (採青)–a quest by the lion to pluck the auspicious greens– would light red candles and tie around their main gate. Neighbours and children would flock to these houses and gather around to watch and cheer.
There was a year when 爷爷 acceded to his grandchildren’s earnest plea. My cousins and I could barely contain our excitement as we watched in awe while the skilled lion dancers pranced about gracefully. The finale had to be when Grandpa set off the longest string of firecrackers ever! We were beaming from ear to ear from the beginning till the end. Ah…Such was our grandest moment!
On Sunday, the grandparents were thrilled to bring the little ones to watch their first ever lion dance performance. We arrived at Park West just in time and made a beeline for the BBQ pit where it was being held. My 17 months old niece bounced excitedly to the infectious beat of the drum while DZ simply stared in wonderment.
I couldn’t help noticing many older children among the crowd, wearing happy faces and exclaiming in delight. What a treat it must be for them, I thought. And made a silent resolution to have DZ and Addy here again next year. And many years after.
In the meantime, check out my favourite little lion dancer in action!
(Credits: Rose the videographer, 婆婆 the sound accompaniment & Mama the choreographer :D)