A baa-rilliant show for Chinese New Year

THE Chinese New Year was seen in with one hell of a bang on Saturday, when the Chinese Association of Woking (CAW), together with Woking Borough Council, welcomed the New Year at the heart of the town by organising a spectacle of colour, song and dance in what is a thousand-year-old tradition.

LION’S SHARE – the best-known cultural dances are the Dragon Dance and the Lion Dance, which these young ladies performed to perfection; you can be forgiven for finding it tricky identifying which is lion and which is dragon (above right)

LION’S SHARE – the best-known cultural dances are the Dragon Dance and the Lion Dance, which these young ladies performed to perfection; you can be forgiven for finding it tricky identifying which is lion and which is dragon (above right)

CAW’s extravaganza featured Lion Dancing, traditional Chinese dance and displays of martial arts, delivering as broad a spectrum of events as they could in order to share the amazing cultural experience with everyone.

GIVE IT A GO – the art of dance reached a peak in China’s Tang Dynasty and  declined thereafter, but in more recent times traditional dance has resurged

GIVE IT A GO – no shortage of keen youngsters to step up and show off their martial arts technique

Lion dancers opened the  proceedings just before noon by leading a parade of blazing colours and mesmerising sounds along Mercia Walk, Commercial Way and Market Walk, into Jubilee Square.

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON – dragons are usually depicted as snake-like with four legs; in yin and yang terms they are ‘yang’ and complement ‘yin fenghuang’ (the Chinese phoenix)

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON – dragons are usually depicted as snake-like with four legs; in yin and yang terms they are ‘yang’ and complement ‘yin fenghuang’ (the Chinese phoenix)

The parade was followed by two delightful shows in the town centre, where CAW members had stalls purveying all manner of goodies from The Orient, indulging locals in such things as Chinese name-writing, arts and crafts and, most importantly, a host of mouthwatering New Year snacks with which to tease the palate.

OFFICIAL INTRO – Michelle Wong takes the mic while Mayor Branagan and MP Jonathan Lord look on and a wee girl suggests it's bedtime

OFFICIAL INTRO – Michelle Wong takes the mic while Mayor Branagan and MP Jonathan Lord look on and a wee girl suggests it’s bedtime

CAW’s main purpose as a group is to advance the education of the public in all aspects of Chinese culture – the arts, tradition, history and language in particular.

As it isn’t an organisation exclusive to people of Chinese origin, anyone with an interest in ‘all things China’ may sign up to be a member.

TOO CUTE – these young ladies donned traditional detailed garb of high colour

TOO CUTE – these young ladies donned traditional detailed garb of high colour

In China, traditional astrology attaches different animal signs to each lunar year in a 12-year rotation.

RICH IN VARIETY – China’s many different regions have distinct dances and costumes

RICH IN VARIETY – China’s many different regions have distinct dances and costumes

This year there has been a hornets’ nest of debate over precisely which creature of the zodiac pertains to the 2015 New Year – goat or sheep.

Not that it ultimately matters, as Chinese folklorists dismiss the fixation on the exact animal as missing the point.

For example, a goat is a ‘mountain yang’, a sheep is a ‘soft yang’ and a Mongolian gazelle is a ‘yellow yang’. Both goats and sheep appear in Chinese New Year paintings, in paper-cuts and on festive decorations… so let’s just say that as long as it’s a bovid, it’s a winner!

 

TIMMY - overjoyed to learn he is a bovid, and that the Chinese New Year is dedicated to his type

TIMMY – overjoyed to learn he is a bovid, and that the Chinese New Year is dedicated to his type

 

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