The dragon and lion dance is a traditional dance performance featured in many Chinese festivals to mark a joyous occasion; from the launching of a new company to Chinese New Year celebrations and Mid-Autumn Festival. However, only a handful of people understand the meaning of the dance.
With the intention to bring the populace closer to a celebratory mood, Persatuan Keturunan Kwong Siew Perak (Women Session) with a group of passionate individuals from the Ipoh Adventures group and Yu Dragon Dance Academy joined hands to introduce dragon dance to the community in conjunction with this year’s Mid-Autumn Festival.
The president and vice president of Persatuan Kwong Siew, Cindy Chow and Camees Foong said many view the Mid-Autumn Festival as merely another festival and thus the celebration carries very little value to them. This applies even more so to those who are non-Chinese.
“It’s about time we step out of the orthodox mindset that Chinese festivals should only be celebrated by a particular group of people who belong in the same racial community or have a similar set of beliefs. Regardless of where they came from, they should be able to celebrate any festivals without the fear of being judged,” she stressed.
She snapped up this opportunity to educate the public and open their eyes to this meaningful celebration; together with the founder of Ipoh Adventures, Andrew Chen, who wants everyone to be a part of the festive season and has a vision to turn it into a multiracial celebration.
The traditional dance performances have cultural significance in the Chinese community. As to why the dragon was chosen as the star for this special event, it is inspired by the statue of a Chinese goddess, ‘Loong Mou Leung Leung’. Besides the Chinese representation of ‘Loong’ (dragon), Loong Mou Leung Leung is seen as a silken thread that binds the people with a spirit of togetherness.
Instil the spirit of togetherness through dragon dance.
People from every walk of life, consisting of students from Quest International University (QIU), families and young kids with no prior knowledge on dragon dance, have joined to experience the dance firsthand. The dance stirs the curiosity of people from different ethnic backgrounds as the performers evoke a sizable interest in the performance. After almost two months of roaring practice with Yu Dragon Dance Academy, they are ready to showcase their prowess in the dance to the public.
Five dragon props were provided for the event free of charge by the academy, out of the spirit of generosity. Each dragon is operated by 10 dancers and the biggest challenge about the folk dance is that the movements have to be performed in unison.
To hold true to their intention to promote the cross-cultural concept, the invitation has been extended to the Chinese-Muslim Association and Indian-Muslim Association.
Activities on that day!
The day will comprise fun and interactive activities as curated by the organisers to ensure attendees have a delightful time. To kickstart the Tanglung Festival will be a tanglung (lantern) making workshop, followed by a dragon dance performance and a handsome parade of lanterns. The fun doesn’t end there, as members of the public can participate in answering lantern riddles to see how much they know about Mid-Autumn and then will come the mooncake eating challenge! Lastly, an award ceremony to wrap up for the day.
Andrew explained that the craft of lantern making is gradually losing its essence due to emotional detachment from their cultural roots. Encouraging people to participate in making their own ‘tanglung’ will create awareness which in turn can preserve the life of the traditional craft.
“It will be taught by the Ipoh Adventures members, who have been practising for this festival. The materials, like scissors, pencil, glue, wire for the shape and paper will also be prepared by us. We want everyone to be able to enjoy the process of making the tanglung with their loved ones. Some of the simple illustrations of the lanterns would be birds and fish,” he highlighted.
Camees has set her sights on running the event every year if the upcoming show hits a happy amount of feedback.
Join in the fun; bring your friends and family to the Tanglung Festival at Persatuan Keturunan Kwong Siew Perak, 26-A, Jalan Pasir Putih, 31650 Ipoh.
Itinerary of the event on September 9:
1pm to 5pm:
- Tanglung Making Workshop
7pm to 10pm:
- Dragon Dance Performance
- Lanterns parade
- Guessing Lantern Riddles
- Mooncake Eating Challenge
- Award Ceremony
- Entertainment Programme