GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. – The Lunar New Year is underway which is a big holiday for members of Asian communities.
In Chinese culture, the traditional lion and dragon dance is part of the celebration.
FOX 5 caught up with a local group called Sang Ahn Duong who practices and performs the dance.
“It’s usually just to start the new year,” member Kenn Ho said. “Bring all the luck and prosperity and get rid of all the bad omens. Start over.”
Ho and other members practice weekly throughout the year, leading up to the Lunar New Year, which falls in late January or February.
The group explains that the choreography is steeped in tradition.
The lion will eat lettuce, spit it out and give it to the public. It symbolizes giving the public wealth and prosperity.
“When you see a lion playing or a dragon, they do things in groups of three. Leaning left, leaning right, leaning in the middle. Or even when they go to eat the orange lettuce, they check three If you see a lion in the wild, he won’t immediately go and eat it. He will test it first to make sure it’s safe,” group member Thomas Yung .
The energetic, loud and colorful dance never fails to draw a crowd, and band members said all the hard work pays off when they can show off.
“As a dancer, the best part is seeing their reaction. When you come up and dance with them, and see their reaction, it’s so rewarding,” said band member Alan Thao.
However, the dancers said it was about more than just pleasing a crowd.
They said it’s a chance to learn and embrace their identities and share them with others.
“My parents always say it’s good to learn about your roots and it was the best way for me to learn about my roots,” said Brian Nguyen.
Everyone is welcome to come to group practice and learn more about dance.
Members said they see it as a chance to pass on their knowledge to those who come after them.
“We’re more welcome for every new person to continue. Once we get old, our bones don’t work, so might as well start teaching the younger generation,” Ho said.
The group has several performances throughout the weekend.
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