February 15, 2010

Up Close and Personal with a DAP Lion

 My elderly aunt and her family opened their door to the DAP Lion Dance troupe  when I went to pay my respects to her.

This year more than 20 Lion troupes are going around in Miri to bring good tidings and blessings to the various Chinese homes until the 15th of the Lunar month or Chap Goh Mei. While most homes open up to these lions some would only receive specific lions. My open minded aunt said that she was willing to donate to any lion which came by.

The procedure was very simple. First a "petition" was sent to the head of the family who would accept the card with grace and kindness. The head of the family could also reject the "petition" and it would not be considered offensive at all.( Some Chinese homes would just close their doors and no one would appear at the door when a Lion approaches.)

The drums and gongs would only then start the merry making and the lion would dance several steps in front of the door. This is the part when the lion would do a few steps to "chase away evil spirits". In a few minutes the head of the troupe would ask for a mandarin orange to be placed at the door way. This is the part when the lion leaves behind his blessing.

The lions  nowadays when paying their respects to homes do not have to go up to the second or third storey to collect their angpows. I remember a long time ago in Sibu when some of my peers had to form a human pillar (under the lion head) to reach the third floor of the shophouses to get their angpows. This really needed acrobatic skills.

After a few interesting movements the lion woujld bend down...

When the lion lifts up his face the mandarin orange would be peeled and a symbol would be left..with a nice flower on top...

Does it look like the word FU (Blessing)? Clever lion.

The happy lion steps backwards.

An angpow will be given by the head of the family. The leader would issue a receipt. No specific amount is asked for. The gift is from the heart.

I feel that this is a good gesture and there is a lot of public accountability here when a lion dance troupe receives generous donations.

This is specially added for my son who loves the drums.....you will one day be the drummer who leads the march forward......

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