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lion dance performed for residents of GHBC during Lunar New Year

Live Vibrantly - January 24, 2023

Starting the (Lunar) New Year with Good Fortune

By Amanda Ranowsky

Goodwin House Bailey’s Crossroads (GHBC) residents enjoyed an auspicious start to the Lunar New Year. For the second year in a row, Wong People Kung Fu Association performed a traditional lion dance for GHBC residents, bringing prosperity and good luck to the year ahead.

An important festival in many Asian cultures, Lunar New Year marks the start of the new year according to the lunar calendar, which calculates months based on complete cycles of moon phases. Western cultures use the Gregorian calendar, a solar calendar based on the time it takes for the earth to revolve around the sun.

The zodiac system, with roots in Chinese folklore, gives each year a name based on the 12 animals in the zodiac cycle. Depending on which zodiac you follow, 2023 is the Year of the Rabbit (China, Korea), the Year of the Cat (Vietnam) or the Year of the Mousedeer (Malay peninsula in west Malaysia).

The Lunar New Year festival extends for 15 days, beginning with the first new moon and ending with the first full moon on the lunar calendar. This holiday includes family gatherings, traditional foods and celebratory events. In one of our Diversity, Equality and Inclusion committee’s Friday Thoughts, we shared more about how this festival is celebrated through the lens of former team member Jenny Wu.

Though it can be performed on other big occasions—business openings, weddings, other festivals, etc.—the lion dance is a key part of Lunar New Year celebrations in China and other Asian countries.

What is a Lion Dance?

Two dancers—one for the head and one for the body—create the lion. The head dancer wears the lion head, with the “body” draping over him and the second dancer like a cape. Both dancers wear pants to match the lion head. Some people mistake the oversized lion head for a dragon. Dragon dances differ greatly from lion dances in both style and number of dancers. Lion dancers perform to a drumbeat symbolizing the heartbeat of the lion.

Audience members can feed the lion during the performance with several traditional items. Last year, residents fed the lion lettuce leaves, symbolic food for the lion that brings the giver good luck when the lion eats it. This year, residents fed the lion with another traditional symbol: red envelopes filled with money (or, in the case of our event at GHBC, gold chocolate coins). Feeding these envelopes to the lion supposedly brings good fortune to the giver.

In this short video, we share the fun of this year’s Lunar New Year celebration. We hope you enjoy watching the lion dance, and that the year ahead brings you much good fortune!

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As Marketing & Communications Specialist, Amanda Ranowsky partners with colleagues throughout Goodwin Living to tell our stories and raise brand awareness. From printed collateral to digital marketing, Amanda covers many bases. Before joining Goodwin Living, Amanda worked for a small, family-owned business where she gained experience in content marketing. Amanda’s creative expression extends beyond the office. She is an active member of community theater and chorus groups.

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