Post image for Video: A lion roars for Chinese New Year

Video: A lion roars for Chinese New Year

by Michael on January 15, 2012

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The other night we had one of those impromptu cultural experiences that make travel worthwhile.  On a quiet Monday evening we strolled the streets of Chinatown in Malacca, Malaysia. It was a few weeks before Chinese New Year and the town was in full preparation mode. We watched men climb rickety bamboo scaffolding to hang glowing red (…) lanterns across the street. In the crimson glow cast by the lanterns food carts were loaded with special treats to celebrate the New Year including tangerines, sticky rice cakes and almond cookies.

Chinese New Year Hainan food street Malacca (800x568)

Hainan Food Street in the Chinatown section of Malacca, Malaysia

Around the corner we heard a loud rhythmic booming noise followed by the metallic clash of cymbals. We followed the sound to its source:  the Teo Chew Association,  where several young men were practicing the Lion Dance for the upcoming festivities.  (For our Philly readers, it reminded us of one of the Mummers Brigades.)  They invited us in to watch the rehearsal and were kind enough to let us tape it.  Many thanks to the guys for allowing us experience this special moment.

Chinese New Year girl drumming

It's never to early to get started. This young girl had the drumsticks in hand and was already practicing.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Xian Yu January 16, 2012 at 6:57 am

It got crazy on Saturday, 14/1. The whole street was full of celebration, my father (Ys Jee) was acting as the association’s photographer, and I had to be the back of the lion for probably 1 hour as we walked and did the business of inviting good luck for people.

My back ached like heck for the next hour.

Oh, and every Wednesday and Friday, there is orchestra practice.

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Us January 16, 2012 at 8:44 am

Sounds like a good party. Your back ached? You’re still young!

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Barbara January 16, 2012 at 11:55 am

Hi Michael & Larissa,
Interesting video. What work that must take underneath the costume.That guy was really limbering up in the video.
Hoping that you guys will still be around Asia for Chinese NY festivities.

Happy trails.

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Us January 16, 2012 at 6:34 pm

Hi Barbara,

We keep in touch with the young men in the video and they say it is backbreaking work. And they’re young!

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Richard Needham January 22, 2012 at 9:52 am

Hi Larissa and Michael,

Xin Nian Kwai Le! as they say in Mandarin (that Fat Choy thing is Cantonese). Your travels sound so exciting so far. I am south of LA now for an extended job, but travel to Shanghai/Suzhou after the Spring Festival and then back here to Anaheim area. I love the photo of the little girl with drumsticks. Your photos are amazing…

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Us January 22, 2012 at 10:11 am

Thx Richard. That little girl was so cute. I tried to get a photo of her drumming but every time I took out my camera she would stop and look at us.

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