Chinese New Year is a beautiful time. There are decorations and flowers everywhere…
One very popular one are these wishing trees…branches with Lai-See packets hung from them.
During the weeks of Chinese New Year Lion Dances are EVERYWHERE!
At first glimpse…one might think they are watching a Dragon at work…but alas, no, these are Lions. You will see them on corners, in parks, at malls. Well…actually, you tend to HEAR them before you see them.
My first real encounter with Lion Dancing happened in January 2012. Most Mondays a group of us would head down to Pacific Place to have salad at the Metropolitan Café. We would eat, rehash our Weight Watchers meeting…and then sit and chat. It was a weekly tradition and we had loads of fun sitting and catching up. After 2 PM, the Café would empty out,and we would have the place pretty much to ourselves.
Then…the drums started from afar…and we didn’t think much of it. Then the drums continued, and continued…and got closer, and closer, and then…the drums arrived. We tried to wait out the drumming…but it went on and on. FOR HOURS. After an hour of TRYIING to keep conversation going…we left. (Note to self…NO MUSIC during dinner at any weddings I’m involved in planning!)
Fast forward to today. I entered the K-11 Art Mall (I live above it)…and I heard the drums. FLASHBACK…I wanted to flee. As I made my way upstairs…I noticed the “offerings” hanging above the doors OF EVERY RETAILER in the Mall!
See the “greens” hanging…every shop had one! A quick search discovered the following:
“Chinese martial art schools or Chinese guild and associations will visit the houses and shops of the Chinese community to perform the traditional custom of "cai qing" (採青), literally means "plucking the greens", a quest by the 'lion' to pluck the auspicious green normally 'vegetables' like lettuce which in Chinese called 'cái'(菜)that sound like 'cái'(财)(fortune) and auspicious fruit like oranges tied to a "Red Envelope" containing money; either hang highly or just put on a table in front of the premises.” --From Wikipedia
The Lion grabs the greens
…then carefully cuts away the greens and Lai-See (offering packet attached)…shakes it’s head…and TOSSES the greens back into the store!
(see above…going in for the kill…grabbing the packet)
Shaking his head (YES…I know it’s blurry)…getting ready…and
TOSSED … back into the store.
This goes on from store to store to store!
SMILE Yogurt wasn’t quite ready…and had to hurry to get their offering up in time!
A new one for me…(well, it’s all new)…was one of the jewelry stores had MANY packets tacked to the walls…and the lion went from packet to packet and grabbed all of the offerings. Entering the store:
The Lion travels with a big group!
And it must take hours to go from store to store to store…EVERY store participates b/c it is believed the greens and packets will bring good luck and fortune to the store!
Here is the Lion…in all it’s glory. Shots were tough b/c of the crowds!
I’m in absorption mode…must take pics and admire all that is Hong Kong.