Monday, 25 March 2013

Lions and Dragons dancing

During the two weeks of Chinese New Year (until the lantern festival at the end) there are plenty of opportunities to catch a Lion and Dragon dance in Hong Kong. At any time of day you may be out and about and the sound of crashing cymbals and beating drums will travel through the air as a nearby troupe burst into action. The Lion has two performers inside and leaps and prowls at the crowds that eagerly await the spectacle. Businesses will offer the Lion something - often a lettuce or foodstuff hanging at the door. The Lion, it's roars represented by the loud bashing of cymbals and drums, scares away the bad luck from the previous year. Mandarins are thrown to the crowd to represent gold and good fortune.

A Dragon often accompanies the Lion to offer good luck in the coming year. The Dragon is carried high on sticks by lots of performers, their number depending on its' length. It weaves around and looks spectacular!

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Year of the Snake

I have just been in Hong Kong absorbing the wonderful sights, sounds, smells and peculiarities of Chinese culture. Everyday was a sensory overload. Since my return I have begun digesting into illustrations the noise, bustle, skyscrapers, temples, food and hectic pace of life lived in a haze of red and gold.

The Lunar Chinese New Year was celebrated while I was in Hong Kong so lots of dragon and lion dances occurred to the sound of clashing cymbals, scaring away the bad luck to herald good luck in its' stead.

It was great to be in a city full of activity and familiar things but one that felt very different to London. A trip to Kowloon Park amidst tower blocks and busy roads and you can find a tranquil pond inhabited by flamingos.