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Celebrating 2014 The Year of the Wood Horse

SiFu Steve Kleppe and ShaoLin Center's professional lion dance team welcome in the Year of the Wood Horse with Marquette University's Students & Scholars Association.
SiFu Steve Kleppe and ShaoLin Center's professional lion dance team welcome in the Year of the Wood Horse with Marquette University's Students & Scholars Association.
Chinese New Year is a time to bid goodbye to the old, and welcome in the new. Each year brings its own energy, outlook and possibilities, and for generations, traditional Chinese culture has dictated specific ceremonies to clear out whatever may remain from one year to make way for the next.

One of the most predominant elements of a Chinese New Year celebration is the lion dance. Legend holds that this exciting performance can be traced back to a time when the village elders expected participation by the entire community. Loud music and costumes were special to the occasion; eventually, the “Lion,” perceived as a strong and righteous creature, became a leading figure in the celebration.

Awakened by the cacophonous sound of the large drums, gongs, cymbals and fireworks, the Lion would dance throughout the entire village, often from one building or home to the next. Each home would welcome the Lion with greens – food – to eat and maybe water to drink; over time, the presentation of the offerings would become more and more difficult for the Lion to acquire, testing the strength, stamina and the ingenuity of the Lion. A good protector had to be all of the aforementioned.  One or more elders would lead the Lion throughout the village, and in time, would wear the costume of a male and/or female monk. Additionally, villagers carrying farm implements and/or weapons would follow the Lion to assist with battles against evils.

Time and tradition would dictate that the more auspicious the celebration, the more likely a wonderful year would follow. Consequently, lion dancing became an integral part of almost all celebrations and gatherings surrounding new homes, new business ventures, birthdays, weddings, visiting dignitaries, and martial arts demonstrations.

ShaoLin Center maintains this important and lively custom through its professional lion dance team. While demonstrations occur throughout the year, Chinese New Year is the busiest time of all for the team. Businesses often regard this transitional period as "auspicious," and welcome the opportunity to have the Lions bless their endeavors, and hopefully pave the way for a healthy, happy, and prosperous year.

Catch ShaoLin Center's lion dance team at these locations:

Thursday, January 30, 2014
RuYi • Potawatomi Bingo Casino
5, 6 & 7 pm
*Must be 18 years of age to enter

Saturday, February 1, 2014
Mayfair Mall
11 am
Golden Gate Restaurant, Waukesha
2 pm

Sunday, February 2, 2014
Mei Hua Market, West Allis
12:30 pm

Sunday, February 9, 2014
ShaoLin Center / Annual Chinese New Year Celebration
12:30 pm

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

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