The Chinese lion dance has a tradition in China more than a thousand years ago. There are numerous versions as to its origin, but one of the most obvious and popular reason is that at that time, the Chinese people needed something for protection as well as to give them good luck, health, blessing and prosperity. These objective and concepts gave birth to Feng Shui and the Chinese dragon and lion subsequently.To empower the lion to do its duty, it is brought to life by the eye dotting ceremony. The eye dotting ceremony is normally held in front of a Confucianist or Daoist alter. However, this tradition is not always followed in the West as most schools of kung fu do not have a full time gym or place. Many of them are also have no idea how to perform this ceremony as they are not spiritually trained to do so.The eye dotting ceremony starts by placing the new lion dance costume in front of the alter. In the alter, there are Kuan Yin, Monkey Sage (to her right) and Kuan Kung (to her right). The Kuan Kung sits on the Green Dragon side which represents peaceful side and the Monkey Sage sits on the White Tigers side which representing the warrior side.You should have been prepared for the alter beforehand and fruits and fresh tea replace the old. To invoke the deities, nine joss-sticks will be lighted on the alter. From here, the eye dotting can be begin. To do that, the powder of cinnabar (jee sa) soaked in water will be used. The drum will be rolling together softly with the hitting of the gong and clashing of the cymbals. One of the master will dip the brush of bamboo into the jee sa and start to dot the lion.The first part to be dotted will be the mirror on the front of the lions head, this is known as the third eye then followed by the nose so that it can breathe and then inside the mouth, the ears, the eyes, head, neck, body, tail and finally the limbs. After that the lion will move slowly and the music grows louder and louder.After the eye dotting, the lion will pay homage to the dieties by giving three bows; first to the Green Dragons side (the left) and then the right and finally, the center before doing the traditional lion dance performance.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lions are regarded as a symbol of strength and courage in China. Beside the lion dance, the Fu Lions (or also called as Lions of Buddha) are also used as a powerful protection. Find out more about Chinese lion dance and other lucky and auspicious animals at my site.