Happy Chinese New Year! Gung Hay Fat Choy!


2015 – The Year of The Goat

Chinese New Year’s Day’s date is calculated according to the Chinese lunar calendar, hence the date is different each year on the Gregorian (internationally used) calendar, but always in the period January 21 to February 20. In 2015 it’s Thursday, February 19. The Goat comes 8th in the Chinese zodiac. The 12 zodiac animals are: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig.  According to Chinese astrology, each year (starting from Chinese New Year) is associated with an animal sign, occurring in a 12-year cycle. For example 2015 is a year of the Goat.

The Southern Lion Dance

Lion Dance, also known as Playing Lion, is a traditional sport activity and a folk art that imitates the movements of lions. In China, people believe that the lion is an auspicious animal and that Lion Dance would bring them good luck.

The Chinese Southern (南獅) Lion dance originated from Guangdong. The Southern Lion has a single horn, and is associated with the legend of a mythical monster called Nian. The lion’s head is traditionally constructed from papier-mâché, utilizing a hand-crafted bamboo frame, and a body made of fabric and fur detailing.

There are two main styles of Guangdong or Cantonese Lion: the Fut San or Fo Shan (translating to “Buddha Mountain”), and the Hok San or He Shan (translates to “Crane Mountain” 鶴山), both named after their geographic location. Fo Shan is the style many kung fu schools have adopted. It demands power from the movement and strength in the posture. The lion becomes a symbol and represents the kung fu school, only the most advanced students are allowed to perform. Other notable but less popular styles include the Fut-Hok (a hybrid of Fut San and Hok San created in Singapore by Kong Chow Wui Koon in the 1960s), and the Jow Ga (named after the Jow family style of kung fu). The different lion types can be identified from the design of the lion head.

“Lion dancing provides cardiovascular exercise, stance training, and weight training all rolled into one cultural package…”

– Doc-Fai Wong