Malaysian Public Holiday No. 3: CHINESE NEW YEAR – What’s it about?

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(Photo credit: http://bit.ly/20m023v)

Chinese New Year is an annual celebration marking the start of the year according to the Chinese lunisolar calendar. Chinese New Year always falls in the months of January or February, and each Chinese New Year is represented by 1 of the 12 creatures of the Chinese Zodiac – 2016 is the year of the Monkey. Chinese New Year is also known as the Spring Festival and in pre-modern times it would signal to farmers in China that they must begin preparation for the sowing of their fields.

Often known for the famous lion dance (see picture above), those who follow Chinese New Year see the lion dance as a traditional Chinese belief. The lion signifies courage, stability and superiority. The lion’s dance is performed to chase away ghosts and evil spirits, and since the monsters, ghosts, evil spirits and giants are afraid of loud noises, the dance has become a natural complement to the fire crackers’ noise. Clashing cymbals, a gong and drums usually accompany this lively scene. The lion’s every movement has a specific musical rhythm. The music follows the moves of the lion, the drum follows the lion, the cymbals and the gong follow the drum player. Throughout the performance, the Lion will mimic various moods and demonstrate similar physical gestures allowing the Lion to look life-like.
The lion dance combines art, history and kung fu moves. Normally the performers are kung fu practitioners, and a group of Lion Dancers consist of about 10 people.

To all those who celebrate it – Happy Chinese New Year!

Thanks to: http://www.nationsonline.org/oneworld/Chinese_Customs/lion_dance.htm and http://publicholidays.com.my/chinese-new-year/

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