This is a continuation to an earlier post https://kenandagnesphotoworks.wordpress.com/2013/09/28/tet-trung-thu-in-hanoi/ in which I got to watch a spectacular dragon dance performance. Although the dragon dance is of Chinese origin and a highlight of major Chinese celebrations, the long periods of Chinese domination and influence have infused the Vietnamese culture with that from the Southern Chinese and other tribes within Southern China.
According to Chinese culture, dragons have a frightening appearance but a benevolent disposition; associated with good luck, long life and wisdom. They have special powers so they can fly in the air, swim in the sea and walk on land; and has features of other animals such as the horns of a stag, the scales of a fish and the footpads of a tiger. In ancient China, the dragon is the emblem of Imperial Authority.
In a dragon dance, a team of dancers carry the dragon – which is an image of the Chinese dragon – on poles. The lead dancers lift, dip, thrust, and sweep the dragon’s head to mimic various gestures and expressions of the dragon while the rest of the dancers will manipulate the poles movement to mimic the dragon’s movements in a sinuous, undulating manner. To succeed in bringing the dragon to life – the main yardstick of a good dragon dance performance, the correct combination and proper timing of the different parts of the dragon are extremely important. Performers from the head to the tail portion of the dragon synchronize their moves in unison with the timing of the musical accompaniment, played life by musicians with traditional drums, cymbals and gongs.
The ‘Dragon Chasing the ‘Pearl of Wisdom” routine – where a ‘Pearl of Wisdom’ on a pole entices the Dragon to the beat of a drum, is highly popular as it scares away evil spirits and symbolises the continual search for wisdom and knowledge.
Excerpts from http://gundkwok.org/what-is-dragon-dance/
All Photos Fuji X-E1 with XF 18-55 mm