Downtown is the place to celebrate Lunar New Year! Join us for a special Chinese Lion Dance performance by the Zhong Yi Kung Fu Association on Sunday 2/5 at 12pm in Lisa Link Peace Park! Stick around after to see the lions bless select storefronts on State Street to bring them luck and prosperity in the Year of the Rabbit!
About the Celebration Downtown
- The performance in Peace Park will be about 15-20 minutes showing off more of what the lions can do and the skill/acrobatics involved in lion dancing.
- Blessings will be about 5minutes at each location. We will be attempting to go inside a few select businesses who have requested it, but that depends on if the lion fits.
- We should be easy to find and follow on the 300, 400, and 500 blocks of State St. Look for instruments and bright colors! Use the timeline to gauge when we’ll be traveling to King St and meet us there.
- Why only a short performance and 10 blessings? It's a great place for us to start! This is our first time celebrating Lunar New Year so we’re focused on giving the most benefit to our businesses by arranging lions to bless their businesses for prosperity in the New Year. We’d love to grow in future years and make Lunar New Years a very special event downtown.
- What is Lunar New Year? It’s the beginning of the calendar year for cultures that follow the lunar cycle (typically East and South East Asia). The first day of the new year is the first day of the new moon.
- Celebrations for New Years are typically a few weeks long and not just one day.
Get an idea about what to expect from the performance with this video from our 2022 celebration, you can find it here!
Practice Saying “Happy Lunar New Year”
Lunar New Year is celebrated in several countries in East and South East Asia - follow the links below to practice wishing a happy new year to folks in a few different languages!
- Cantonese: Kung Hai Fat Coy
- Korean: Saehea Bok Mani Badeuseyo
- Mandarin: Xin Nian Kuai Le
- Vietnamese: Chúc Mừng Năm Mới
About Lion Dancing
- There's many different types and styles of lion dancing. The school we're working with does a type of southern style (Hoksan - Sarping) lion dancing. Lions are animated by two people and are not the same as dragon dances (which need a lot of people). If you want to learn more about the various styles of lion dancing, head here.
- Lion dancing at New Years is used to scare away evil and bring good luck. They're a common addition to Chinese celebrations throughout the year. Lion dance performances typically tell stories, but at New Year you're most likely to see the lions being playful and stalking food as a part of blessing a business. The lions typically 'eat' tangerines or lettuce/napa cabbage and spit it out at the audience (really, it's one of the people in the lion ripping the food and throwing it out of the mouth of the lion). If you get hit with pieces of food, it's considered really good luck.
Hongbao (red envelopes with money inside) are fed to lions for luck and blessings.
- Why red? It’s considered a lucky color symbolizing happiness, hope, success, vitality, and more. It’s considered lucky to wear a piece of red during new years celebrations. And if the current year is your Chinese Zodiac year, you should wear a piece of red all year to ward off bad luck.
- The music will be loud. Music animates the lion and is part of chasing away evil spirits.
- Why lettuce and tangerines? The simple answer is that they homonyms - meaning, the words for lettuce/cabbage/picking greens and tangerines sound like the words for fortune, wealth, prosperity, and success. So, they are seen to symbolically give blessings of wealth and prosperity for the new year.
This fun comic guide is helpful for more info.
- Noted in this comic but important to call out – it is considered very bad luck to touch the mirror and horn on the lion’s head. And don’t give the lion anything white to eat, white is associated with death and is very unlucky (part of why the lions are fed money inside of red envelopes – red is a lucky color).
About the Performers
Zhong Yi Kung Fu Association, founded in 1995 by Shifu Nelson Ferreira, is dedicated to promoting the teachings of Bei Shaolinquan (北少林拳 - Northern Shaolin Style Kungfu), Hoksan Sar Ping (Lui Pai) Lion Dance (鶴山沙坪(呂派)獅藝) and Kuoshu (traditional Chinese martial arts). The Association provides a comprehensive study of Chinese martial arts as a combative, artistic, and cultural pursuit. Members of the school have competed regionally, nationally, and internationally. Learn more about them here!