Tuesday, 31 January 2012


The highlight of the Lion Dance is the "Cai Qing" or 'Picking the Green'. Green here refers to the green vegetables (usually lettuce or sang choy) which are tied to a piece of red string together with a red packet containing money. The red string is hung above the door of the business, shop (or home), and the lion 'eats' both, the leaves and the red packet. The lion then gives the green to the owner of the premise or house.
Another version would have the lion lying on the floor and eating the leaves to the accompaniment of the drums and gong. The lull is broken as the lion explodes back into activity, 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.
A shop, business (or household) being visited by the performers of the Lion Dance will have good luck in the year to come (keep in mind that a visit normally has to be prepaid) and should a family member or the owner of a business stuck his or her head into the lions’s mouth, the year to come will even be more lucky and prosperous. The performing lions are normally awarded with  red packets, oranges and mandarins symbolising wealth and luck.

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