This weekend we took E to an official store opening because I’d heard via facebook that there would be a lion dance.
Ellie was super excited about the IDEA of seeing a lion dance.
What we didn’t think through, though, was that the drums, which are loud enough to be painful for E in the open outdoors would be about 10x louder in the confined store. Additionally, in a confined store, there would be nowhere to go if she got unhappy.
We got there and Ellie loved the first dance the lions did. It was fairly short, and because they dance through the whole store for good luck, we got an up-close look at them. Afterward she was saying “I love lion/dragon dances!” When we told her it was a lion dance, not a dragon dance, she asked “where’s the dragon?”
Trouble for us began when the next phase of the blessing began. The dance team put out lettuce and oranges, and then the dragons did a much longer dance. E began to get overwhelmed, burying her head against me (I was holding my hands over her ears to reduce noise, which was even getting to me) and crying “go to SLEEP lions, go to SLEEP.” I felt bad for not having thought this through, as we were on the wrong side of the lions and couldn’t get by them to get her out of the store. I think the take-away is that with younger kids, always have an exit strategy.
Obviously I was a bit distracted, but I found the part with the oranges and lettuce especially cool. The “lions” picked up the oranges, and later in the dance, they tossed the on-lookers orange peel (and ripped lettuce). They also made a number on the floor with orange segments, which I’m curious to know the meaning of (why do they do that, does the number have a special significance?). They presented the owners with a scroll as well.
I’m really impressed by the the lion dance team members. They move with such skill that you forget it’s not real. The flirtatious batting of eyelashes, the way the two dancers sit, so that the dragon is sitting or laying down, the gymnastics involved at times, it’s all incredible. My friend Kirsten remarked that if we are here when E is older, she could join a lion dance team. We’ll see!
It was really cool, and I would’ve loved the experience unreservedly had E not been upset. I don’t have pictures as the angles were all wrong and then E needed Mommy cuddles during the second dance.
I have to say that the way a store/restaurant does this sort of grand opening is far cooler than anything we do in the US. I’d find grand openings FAR FAR more interesting if they included lion dances!