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When I have been officially selected and invited as a Blogger and Photographer by Indian Chinese Association for Culture, Welfare and Development for their annual “Lion Dance Display & Cultural Show 2016” on 31st January, seriously I was extremely happy. This cultural evening has been organized to welcome Chinese New Year 2016. As all we know that Lion Dance is usually performed as part of festivities like Chinese New Year, weddings and in any happy occasions. This year it has been shifted to St. Joseph College Campus, Bowbazar, Kolkata, earlier used to be held at Tirretibazar area. I think, in comparison to previous years, this year it was more organized and a bigger show ever. However the festivities starts just day before the Chinese New Year and continue till 15th day of New Year, which is also called “Lantern Festival“.
Chinese New Year – This year it’s called the year of Monkey. It will start on 8th February 2016
and will end 27th January 2017, according to Chinese Calendar. Actually Chinese new year is characterized by one of 12 animals according to the Chinese zodiac and it has 12 houses. Each house has a time length of one year. This year of Monkey falls on ninth animal in the cycle and next year of Monkey will be in 2028. Every animal has it’s own strengths and weaknesses. So according to that, Money’s Strengths are self-assured, innovative, enthusiastic and weaknesses are arrogant, jealous, suspicious and cunning.
Lion Dance – As I have already mentioned that Lion dance is usually performed as a part of the festivities. The tradition of Lion Dance is cultivated from ancient time in China and there are several versions of history and roots of the lion dance. One popular belief is that the Lion Dance finds it’s roots in the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-906). The Emperor of Tang Dynasty had a strange dream one night and in dream one creature had saved his life. After a extensive research he understood that the creature was a Lion, who saved his life. Most interestingly during that period Lion did not exist in China and this is the reason for another belief is Lions were entered via the famous Silk Road to China. Rulers from regions, which are today Iran and Afghanistan sent lions to Chinese emperors as a gift in order to get the right to trade with Silk Road merchants. Although, because of his dream the lion came to symbolize good luck, happiness, and prosperity. Lion plays an important role in Chinese folklore. Chinese Lions are not resemblance to real Lions and portrayed as peaceful creatures. Also considered divine animal of nobility and dignity, which symbolize strength, courage and wisdom.
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Lion Dance Display & Cultural Show in Kolkata -I have already mentioned that I was officially invited by Indian Chinese Association (ICA). Program was scheduled to start at 5PM and that’s why I went there around 4PM along with my fellow blogger Subhadip Mukherjee. I was little worried that day about my camera because it was not operating properly and now it’s in coma. Just one week before the show, I came back from trekking of Kedarkantha Summit 2016. During the final day Summit I fell down from a inclined icy trail along with my DSLR camera and that’s made my camera faulty. With a almost handicapped camera along with my cell phone camera, I have tried so much to capture the spirit and the essence of the festival.
Opening Frame – A soft spoken gentle man with smiling face approached me and handed over a official ID card issued by ICA, he was Mr. Robert Hsu. Really felt proud for the privilege given by ICA to me.
Practice Session – From the very beginning my camera was refused to work. Alas, I had to depend on my cell phone camera. When I reached the venue few people were there but the entire campus was decorated with banners and beautiful Chinese lanterns. Noticed that students from Taiwan were practicing a Dance sequence and I have captured few moments.