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The Dragon Dance is one of the most colorful events associated with Chinese New Years.  Participating dancers hold up the dragon "costume" on poles and perform intricate maneuvers, while lights flash and pyrotechnic devices go off.  The effect of this dance is spectacular, as the serpentine dragon whirls and twirls its way around the crowd.  The tradition of the Dragon Dance goes back centuries, and has deep connections with Chinese culture and mythology. 

The origins of the Dragon Dance stretch back to when peasants in rural China would use it as an appeal to the dragon spirit.  It was believed that performing the dance could halt the spread of epidemics, as the dragon spirit would help to cleanse the air and water.  The dragon spirit is highly revered in China for their wisdom, intelligence, and courage.  In fact, children born in the Year of the Dragon (which comes every 12 years and most recently in 2000) are considered to be very lucky.  From its origins as a healing dance, the Dragon Dance went on to become a popular folk activity.  When westerners first encountered the Dragon Dance around 1000 A.D., it was already a part of festivals and celebrations. 

The size of the dragon used in the Dragon Dance varies greatly based on the skill of the performers and their resources.  Most dragons have between nine and 25 sections, each of which is about five or six feet long.  Some talented dragon dance teams have produced dragons with more than 40 sections, which results in the spectacular sight of a dragon more than 200 feet long!  The length of the dragon is supposed to bring good luck, and so communities work hard to produce the longest dragon possible.  Most dragons' robes are made of sequined, richly colored fabric that cover the dancers' bodies from the waist up, although a few dragons are made with dancers waving long colored fabrics on poles in undulating patterns. 

The dragon's head is usually equipped with a gaping mouth, which is sometimes able to open and close.  Since the Dragon Dance is most often performed at night, the mouth is often the source of flames, fireworks, or bright lights, while the body of the dragon will also be lighted or will have sequins that reflect light in the area.  One of the traditions of the Dragon Dance is grabbing money offered by spectators.  As the dragon moves through the crowd, it will try to catch money in its mouth.  If the spectator wants to offer a large denomination bill, they hold it high in order to challenge the dancers' skill and agility.  In some cases, money has been held from first story windows, and the dragon dancers have stood on each otherís shoulders to climb the wall.  Whether money is offered or not, though, the Dragon Dance is a spectacular sight and a must-see for anyone attending a Chinese celebration.


 

Chinese Dynasties Panda Bears
Chinese Calligraphy The Symbols in the Art
 
Bronze Dragon ~ 7.25 Inches
Bronze Dragon ~ 7.25 Inches
Code:12458
Price:$79.95
Jade ~ Boy & Two Dragons
Jade ~ Boy & Two Dragons
Code:11000
Price:$99.95
Brass Dragon ~ 4.75 Inches
Brass Dragon ~ 4.75 Inches
Code:12463
Price:$24.95
Dragons ~ Bead Embroidered Silk
Dragons ~ Bead Embroidered Silk
Code:11314
Price:$32.95
Dragon & Phoenix ~ 8 Inch Bowl
Dragon & Phoenix ~ 8 Inch Bowl
Code:11222
Price:$42.95
 
 

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