(simplified Chinese: 舞龙; traditional Chinese: 舞龍; pinyin: wǔ lóng) is a form of traditional dance and performance in Chinese culture. It’s most often seen in festive celebrations with the most famous in Hong Kong being Mid-Autumn festival where it’s actually known as “Fire Dragon” as it’s lit with many joss sticks. The dance is performed by a team of dancers who manipulate a long flexible figure of a dragon using poles positioned at regular intervals along the length of the dragon. The dance team mimics the supposed movements of this river spirit in a sinuous, undulating manner. The dragon is preceded by a ball or in some cases two. It’s very loud and often seems chaotic just like Hong Kong but it’s in fact very organized and systematic once you see the pattern.
The dragon dance is often performed during Chinese New Year. Chinese dragons are a symbol of China, and they are believed to bring good luck to people, therefore the longer the dragon in the dance, the more luck it will bring to the community. The dragons are believed to possess qualities that include great power, dignity, fertility, wisdom and auspiciousness. The appearance of a dragon is both frightening and bold but it has a benevolent disposition, and so eventually became an emblem to represent imperial authority. The movements in a performance traditionally symbolize historical roles of dragons demonstrating power and dignity.
(simplified Chinese: 舞狮; traditional Chinese: 舞獅; pinyin: wǔshī) is much smaller than the dragon and is usually made up of two dancers who are often swapped out much like a dragon dance team. In Chinese culture and other Asian countries in which performers mimic a lion’s movements in a lion costume. The lion dance is usually performed during the Chinese New Year and other Chinese traditional, cultural and religious festivals. It may also be performed at important occasions such as business opening events, special celebrations or wedding ceremonies, or may be used to honour special guests by the Chinese communities.
Mid-autumn festival is a very busy and colourful time in Hong Kong. The red lanterns are hanging and locals are running around buying mooncakes to give to each other. There are also a few interesting dragon dances well worth catching and both have different local significance. Hong Kong Tai Hang Fire Dragon Mid Autumn Festival for more details and images.
“locals still recreate the fiery ancient ritual today with a whopping 300 performers, 72,000 incense sticks and a 67-metre dragon…for 3 moon-fueled days”
If there is no festival going on during your visit, here’s your chance so you don’t miss out on the colorful lion dances and martial arts demonstrations, the gongs and drums that are a part of all festivities.
This one is another open air event, and takes place at Kowloon Park on Sundays, a great weekend afternoon with the family. At the end of the demonstrations the public is invited to try their skills, and the instructors are happy to lead visitors through typical kung fu movements.
Sponsored by the HK Leisure and Cultural Services Department together with the many martial arts and kung fu associations, the event is free and open to all.
When? Sundays 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Weather permitting.
Where? Sculpture Walk, Kowloon Park, 22 Austin Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
Directions: Take MTR Tsim Sha Tsui Station, Exit A1.
How Much? Free.
More Info: www.lcsd.gov.hk/kung_fu_corner