Lion Dance

The lions are coming! The lions are coming! No, not the Detroit Lions or the Lions Club, but the traditional lion dance originating in many Asian cultures. Performers in lion costumes appear at auspicious openings to protect the people and fight back the evils. Opening the Lunar New Year of the Dragon 2012 in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District, the Lieu Quan Lion Dance Team, a youth dance group from the Vietnamese community, will visit The Wing on January 21.

Crowds gather and block the street among clouds of smoke and noise as firecrackers wake up the lions. A critical time when the public ventures on their own to our neighborhood, we participate in the excitement and demonstrate pride in sharing our cultures. Coinciding with a free admission day at The Wing, those who follow the lions into the museum will find a professional teaching artist working with families using washi paper, a special Japanese decorative paper. Those who stick around can also welcome the Japanese New Year with Oshogatsu and a special Japanese tea ceremony. Thus the museum provides an excursion across different Asian ethnic groups and cultures, starting with tradition and going beyond.

The Wing’s participation in Lunar New Year helps make it a good day for strangers and neighbors both to visit our community, getting over their fears for safety, congestion or the unfamiliar. And taking a step inside The Wing that day might just convince strangers to return and become neighborhood familiars. And besides, the lions bring us good luck. And we never turn away luck. Happy New Year of the Dragon!

-Elizabeth Bly

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