Monday, February 7, 2011

The Year of the Rabbit

Don't worry I didn't forget about you yesterday!  I wasnt being lazy or anything of that nature.  I had a fun filled day of photographing and football.  Yesterday, I attended my first Chinese New Year Lion Parade to celebrate the year of the Rabbit.   I walked into this blindly.  I had no idea what I was going to see or what the parade symbolized.  I enjoyed the parade so much that I just had to learn more about it.

Here is what I learned:

The Rabbit is the four animal in a twelve year Chinese Zodiac cycle.  The Rabbit is a lucky sign. Therefore, people born in the year of the Rabbit are considered finically lucky.  They are also very kind, considerate, and fashionable people. They are artistic and enjoy painting and music.

Now onto Firecracker and Lions!

During the Chinese new year, lion dancer troups visit shops of the Chinese community to perform the traditional custom of "cai ching" which means "plucking the greens".  It is a quest by the 'lion' to pluck the auspicious green vegetables such as lettuce.  During this parade, the lettuce was located at the top of the firecracker chain.  The firecrackers are lit because the noise produced by the firecrackers scares away evil spirits and misfortune, preventing them from coming into the new year.  So, once the firecrackers were lit, t the "lion" will dance and approach the "green" like a curious cat, to "eat the green" and "spit" it out lettuce into a nice arrangement.  The lion dance is believed to bring good luck and fortune to the business. 

The parade was very interesting.  The costumes were beautiful and brightly colored.  I was also very smokey and loud thanks to the firecreackers.  I left the parade covered in firecracker debris and smoke.  My hearing is still a little off! I managed to shoot the entire parade with the camera in manual mode. Yea me!  I fumbled with the setting in the beginning, but felt like a real pro towards the end.   I think I did a very good job since most of the photos were nicely exposed. I took so many photos and had trouble narrowing them down to one picture.  Since I couldn't decide,  I had my Facebook friends help me out.  I let them vote for the best out of 10 pictures.  Here is the winning photo from the Chinese New Year Lion Dance Shoot!

Feb 6, 2011
Big Trouble in Little Chinatown

Thank for voting! Picture #8 is your winner

Here are a few of my other favorite photos:

Approaching like curious cats

This is what the streets looked like

About to eat the lettuce

Beautiful colors

Next year I will definately remember to wear earplugs, goggles and a mask!

Click here to view the rest of the Chinese New Year Lion Dance Parade on Flickr.



Joe said...

That looked to be fun and exciting. All of them turned out great. For some reason the 5th one caught my eye. Great job on manual! I really enjoyed your comment on the history behind the series too!

Joyce L. said...

Awesome! Colorful and vivid! I'm enjoying going on this journey with you! Thanks for letting Me/us come along. I miss you more, but this helps Me connect! You are very talented and I love you! I am soooo proud!