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Friday, July 19, 2024

The dance of luck

Text & photos by Adrien Jean

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Dragon dances are traditional performances popular in many Asian countries, including Vietnam. The dance is usually performed during festivals and special occasions, particularly during Tet (Lunar New Year).

The performance mimics a lion’s or a dragon’s movement to bring luck and prosperity in the new year. A family or a business visited by a lion dance performance is believed to have good luck for the rest of the year.

The costumes and accessories used by the performers come in various colors and shapes, but all must inspire fear and power to chase away monsters and evils. Traditional dance is considered folk and martial art, as performers must master complex movements.

The complex choreography is accompanied by drums called ‘the Seven-Star’ drums that can only be played by the master or second master of the dojo. The performance wouldn’t be complete without “Ong Dia,” the Spirit of the Earth, depicted as a jolly man with a palm-leaf fan. He is believed to have the power to summon mystical animals and leads the dancing troupe, clearing the paths for performers.

The dragon heads are aligned in front of the temple
Dragon in motion
There is no “I” in “Team”
There is no “I” in “Team”
Lucky money for a year of good luck
Dragons showing their respects to the gods
Drummers set the rhythm
Parade in the streets of Cho Lon
From above
The “Ong Dia” leads the show
Family business
Time to go home


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