They came yesterday

Probably the most common historical reference to Chinese Lion Dance is the story of Nian (年). According to legend, a monster was terrorizing a small village; eating the livestock, crops and villagers. One day, a Buddhist monk visited the village and witnessed the events that had taken place. To rid the villagers of this menace, the monk instructed the villagers to get their best martial artists and build a 'monster'. In addition to this, the monk instructed the villagers to fill bamboo shoots with gunpowder and to cover the village in red decorations. The following year, when Nian came back (its coming had become an annual occurrence), the village's best martial artists ran out with their 'monster', whilst the rest of the villagers rushed out banging their pots and pans, throwing their homemade firecrackers. Seeing this, Nian fled the village, scared for its life. From this day, the Chinese perform this dance to not only celebrate their besting of Nian, but also to ward off bad-spirits or, if Nian should return, scare it away.

An Lion Dance Association of Macau was blessing all the places in our neighbourhood. Nian was hiden in Bloom, reading Dostoiévski, they didn't see him inside and he didn't care about them anymore, about the villagers.


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