Since we lived near this shopping centre, we had the good fortune to be able to experience live lion dance performances over Chinese New Year here performed by different troupes. The performances were really awesome because the lions had to do tricks and stunts on poles two metres off the ground.
So typically, the lions dance alongside heavy drum beats and cymbals which coincide with the lion’s moves. Lion dance troupes normally are helmed by Chinese martial arts schools. A ‘lion’ is performed by two men where the person in front controls the lion head and it’s ‘expressions’ and the person at the back supports his partner to perform stunts.
Throughout the first fifteen celebratory days of the Lunar New Year, shops, offices and some homes invite a lion dance troupe to as an auspicious ritual to bring in good fortune for the new year. Normally the hosts will prepare and hang a bunch of green vegetables (the word ‘vegetables’ in Mandarin sounds like the word ‘wealth’ as well) tied to an ang pow (red packet containing money) from higher ground, about 5 metres high. The lion will perform and then attempt to grab the vegetables, ‘chew’ and ‘spew’ out the shreds from its mouth. The red packet would be dues to the lion dance troupe. At other times of the year, a lion dance troupe might be invited at business or office launches.