Gung Hay Fat Choy

That might not be the right spelling, there seems to be many versions of  the greeting “May you become prosperous”, but it’s the spelling you see most around here. Vancouver and the rest of the world have been celebrating the Lunar New Year this past week. Parts of the city have bright red lanterns hanging inside the markets, shopping malls and restaurants. There have been parades with dancing lions and dragons as well.

I’ve already started work on some pieces for the Orientation exhibition with Six and Friends coming up this year but thought the Lunar New Year celebrations would be a perfect time to pick up some new sources of inspiration. So with camera in hand I headed out for some creative stimulation and to find a lion….and here he is!

Apparently the lion is meant to bring good luck, it’s an ancient tradition and meant to chase away mythological monsters. Lunar New Year is the only time the lions get out to dance and this one certainly made the most of it.

This shop in the market is ready and waiting for the lion to come by. See the lettuce hanging to the right of the red sign?  the lion reaches up and “tastes” the lettuce then pulls it down.

Attached to each lettuce is a lucky red envelope with money, candy or chocolate coins inside. The lion chews up the lettuce and then spits it out, scattering lettuce and spreading good luck. I was told by one of the merchants that the “chewed up” lettuce represents prosperity and money returning to the shop.

It’s tricky to see but there is lettuce flying in this image! It’s the green blur at the bottom left corner of the white sign. This is the famous BeaverTails pastry stand at the Lonsdale Quay market, just in case you have never heard of them BeaverTails have been referred to as a Canadian culinary icon. These deliciously addictive, whole-wheat pastries are stretched by hand to resemble the tail of a beaver.

Judging from the shower of lettuce 2012 will be a good year for BeaverTails!

The lion is a two-man dance team, with the senior dancer taking the head. The dance is hugely energetic and very loud! as the lion has his own team of drummers and a dancer with the cymbals following along behind.

The lion dance is a very colorful and inspiring thing to see and I took loads of images , a lot of them blurry, but very colorful.

There are some wonderful designs and colours in the lions costume and the head is truly spectacular! I’ve got a few designs started in my sketchbook.

Bye for now, Catherine



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