2014 is the year of the Wooden Horse! m/ The last day of January 2014 marked the first day of the New Year in the Chinese calendar. So the Year of the Wooden Horse commenced January 31, 2014 and will end on February 18, 2015. According to the Chinese calendar experts, the upcoming year is going to be high-spirited and full of adventure.
It is said that the Wood Horse year is a time of fast victories, unexpected adventure, and surprising romance. It is an excellent year for travel, and the farther away and off the beaten path, the better. Energy is high and production is rewarded. Decisive action, not procrastination, brings victory. But one has to act fast in a Horse year. If not 100% secure about a decision, then don’t do it. Events move so quickly in a Horse year that you don’t want to gallop off in the wrong direction.
Though it’s funny coz we are non-traditional chinese peeps who keep getting asked about chinese stuff we simply have no clue about, we still celebrated with the gang who wanted to watch a dragon dance in the heart of ongpin & eat chinese food. Hala sige, kayo na ang maging chinoy, lels!
I put our chow part in the next post as there will be too much photos in one post if I don’t divide this into 2 parts. Click HERE to read how we celebrated the year of the Water Dragon in Binondo 2 years ago.
First, what we saw..
The night was alive & the streets were filled with every wares imaginable..
We were fortunate enough to witness a dragon dance. It wasn’t as elaborate as the one we saw 2 years ago. We made inquiries beforehand but nobody knew when the dragons would perform. I think it depended on the business establishment who hired them for luck & prosperity. We were glad to see at least one -albeit very very short, or all our troubles going through that sea of people & peddlers were for naught! :P
Even though each Chinese New Year refers to one of 12 animals based on the Chinese zodiac, the dragon represents a special position in the Chinese culture as a symbol of power, prosperity, good weather and good luck. In fact, the longer the dragon, the more luck it will bring. Not only does the dragon represent what most anyone would want from a new year, but it also frightens away evil.
At first glance, the dragon that emerges on Chinese New Year looks nothing like other dragons. These dragons are multicolored, not green, and they include several features from other animals. For example, the dragon has the scales of a fish and the footpads of a tiger.
The dragon’s head is made of papier mache, and its body is made of bamboo covered in paper or fabric. With the use of poles, several people move as a perfectly timed unit to make the dragon appear to dance.
Sometimes, a dragon can be so large that 100 people are needed to move it, and the moves may be so complex that they require acrobatic training. At the very least, the dancers must be able to keep time with each other so they don’t run into each other and throw off the timing. This dance requires preparation, from the costume to learning the moves, but, if done right, a dragon dance can bring you good luck.
Before the dragon dances, it must be “awakened.” Usually, an important local figure paints in the eye of the dragon, and then the festivities begin. A dancer hoisting a white pearl in the air guides the dragon through the streets, and musicians carrying cymbals and banging drums announce its arrival.
The Chinese lion dance is often mistakenly referred to as dragon dance. An easy way to tell the difference is that a lion is normally operated by two dancers, while a dragon needs many people. Also, in a lion dance, the performers’ faces are usually not seen, since they are inside the lion. In a dragon dance, the performers can be seen since the dragon is held on poles. Both are used during the Chinese New Year and other Chinese traditional, cultural and religious festivals. They may also be performed at many other important occasions such as business opening events, special celebrations or wedding ceremonies, or may be used to honour special guests by the Chinese communities.
Our long walk took us to Lucky Chinatown Mall which had the most festivities (and people) that night..