The most spectacular event of the Chinese New Year festivities must surely be the Lion Dance. Lion dances take place throughout the first few days of the Chinese New Year, and bring good luck to the households or businesses which they visit.
The Lion Dance itself is performed by two 'dancers' one at the head and one at the tail of the lion. Careful observation of the Lion Dance will show that it is in fact a very careful demonstration of stylised movements performed by skilled performers(generally from a martial arts school or acrobatic company). To enhance the 'life' of the lion, the eyelids, mouth and ears of the Lion's head all move.
The lion dance is an important tradition in China. Usually the dance is part of festivities like Chinese New Year, the openings of restaurants and weddings, or, in this case, it was the screening of a film. If well-performed, thelion dance is believed to bring luck and happiness.
The lion is enacted by two dancers. One handles the head and the other the body. The 'animal' is accompanied by three musicians, playing a large drum, cymbals and a gong. To enhance the 'life' of the lion, the head dancer can move the lion's eyes, mouth and ears. The lion dance combines art, history and martial arts moves. Normally the performers are martial arts practitioners. Every kind of move has a specific musical rhythm and the music follows the moves of the lion.
The dramatic climax of the Lion Dance is the Choi Cheng or "Picking the Green." The green refers to vegetable leaves which are tied to a piece of string that also has a red packet attached containing money. The string is hung above the door of the house or business, and the lion 'eats' both leaves and red packet. Lying on the floor the leaves are 'chewed' by the lion while the musicians play a dramatic rolling crescendo. The lull is broken as the lion explodes back into activity while spitting out the leaves. This is a symbolic act of blessing by the lion, with the spitting out of the leaves signifying that there will be an abundance of everything in the coming year.