Elated About Lunar New Year – Year of the Horse

Lunar New Year Dragon

Lunar New Year Dragon

Lunar New Year has been fun thus far. I spent the first weekend of it at the Taipei Cultural Arts Centre in Dunwoody. Saturday was packed with what could have well been over 500 people in an auditorium, many standing near the stage watching group after group do cultural dances.

imageThere were so many gorgeous dance routines on the stage, I don’t even know where to begin. Some of my favourite dancers included those with water sleeves, long sleeve dances and those from the western most sections of China. I thought I saw Turkistan represented as well but I’m not sure…the dance movements, the very pronounced wrist twirling and intricate outfits reminded me of that area. I love the culture in that part of China because it’s so close to what we do in our own African, Middle Eastern, African/Asian communities. To see these traditions come to life every year by our local Asian community is heart warming. The goreous clothing, beautiful hair styles and soul grabbing music, it’s hard not to swoon and praise the dancers and performers. This was really touching.

One of my favourite dances was that of a soloist wearing an outfit that seemed to represent every ethnic group that has ever roamed the eastern hemisphere. There were the traditional dropped ruffles found in Spain and West Africa, she had the wrists and hip movements of someone in Egypt and Lebanon, the music could have been a myriad of any place in the east and she herself was just stunning and performing with fantastic rhythm! I don’t even know how to describe it, you just had to be there.

imageThere was an additional group that was described as a women in their 70s and 80s who dance together often. They were very youthful in colourful dresses and jingling hipscarves. They danced to the PCDolls, “Loosen Up My Buttons?” Is that the name of the song? They were darling with their intricate hip movements and big smiles on their faces; bright, bold and stellar!

This year there were many non-ethnic chinese families. Lots of African-Asian Exchange members and their families, some swirled and multi-national, I felt right at home. I loved that! This is a really good sign. I was happy to see all of the different cultures, cheering on the children and young adults. I met one lady doing research on our community and detailed too her my experience as an African living in a majority Asian community for many years. There were also several officials up for re-election and they spoke, giving words of encouragement and helping us better understand how important it is to get out and vote as we need to have a place/representation at the table. I think I cheered and clapped the loudest on this because I firmly believe in being active on the political front.

As with any cultural event you get those that have no idea what any of this means. There was one group of youngsters who were very loud and made stereotypical newbie comments thinking this was going to be full of anime characters and aficionados… ummm, no. This isn’t AWA, this is Lunar New Year, and though some of us were dressed in Asian streetstyle clothing, which is elaborate and mistakenly “character” in itself, we were not there to see our favourite video game icons. We were there for ancient traditions and to gather and see those of mulitple generations’ dedication to carry the torch for their ethnic group, there’s nothing comical about that.

Sunday in Orient Square is always my favourite, love this lion and dragon group.

Sunday in Orient Square is always my favourite, love this lion and dragon group.

Lunar New Year remains one of my favourite holidays and I go to great lengths to spend two days dancing and celebrating with the dragon these holiday weekends. I really take it seriously and do hope that in the coming years we have a well-defined dinner, dance weekends, hotel hobbit parties and anything else we can squeeze into the 15 days. Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Thanks for reading!

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