The East Rising Lion Dance Troupe has been performing in the Washington DC metropolitan area for over 15 years. Our objectives are to promote the Chinese folk culture and to get involved with events in various communities.
We perform for the lunar New Year celebrations, grand openings of stores or restaurants, weddings and various other celebrations and festivals happening in the area.
History of lion dance
Since historical origins of lion dance are just as unclear, there are several mythological approaches to explain the origin of lion dance.
During the Tang Dynasty, the emperor had dreamed that a creature had saved his life. When he described the creature to his ministers, they told him it was a lion, and so the emperor commanded that they recreate the lion out of bamboo and paper-mache. Thus, the lion became a symbol of good luck, happiness and prosperity.
Another story involves a monster, Nian, which appears during the New Year to destroy the crops. The villagers made noise with gongs and cymbals to scare it off. Another version even mentions the people imitating Nian and dressing up in costumes to scare the beast away. Also, there is a myth about how a rat-infested village struggled, looking for a way to be rid of the rats. The lion ate all the rats and saved the village, but it then turned on the people. The villagers then dressed up in lion costumes and made a lot of noise to scare off the lion.
To read more about the origin of lion dance, our member, Liz Hum, wrote a great paper on it: Lion Dance History
East Rising Dragon Boat
With our continuation of promoting Chinese folk culture, a few of our members participate in the sport of dragon boat race every year to celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival.