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The Dragon Dance - a celebration in Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is determined by the lunar calendar. It falls between 21 January and 19 February and is the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese calendar. The Chinese year 4702 began on January 22, 2004. New Year festivities traditionally start on the first day of the month and continue until the fifteenth, when the moon is brightest.

The Dragon Dance is an important part of the Chinese New Year celebration. It is believed that the dragon represents prowess, nobility and fortune; drives out evil and brings good luck. The origin of the Dragon Dance dates back to ancient China.

The dragon mask and body used for the dance may be gold, green or fire red. Green symbolizes great harvest; yellow symbolizes the solemn empire, gold or silver symbolizes prosperity and red represents excitement. The length of the dragon can vary from 9 to 24 sections long, with each section measuring from about 5 to 6.5 feet. Some of the dragons are 100 feet long!

The Dragon Dance can be performed in the daytime or at night, if it is performed at night it is usually preceded by someone carrying a blazing torch to illuminate, making the whole performance even more enchanting. Performers create intricate dragon dances with one performer manipulating the head of the dragon and the rest manipulating the body. The correct combination and proper timing of the different parts of the dragon are very important for a successful dance.

Chinese New Year is celebrated in China and anywhere there are Chinese people. The specific activities of the celebration often vary depending on the region, but the basic principles are the same.

For further information on The Dragon Dance and Chinese New Year consider visiting the following websites:

 

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