Friday, 16 February 2018

dog day afternoon

As you probably already know by now, today marks the start of the Chinese year of the dog. However, I won’t tell you what that means, or what people born in dog years are like, because, like the Western zodiac, it’s all bullshit. To suggest that millions of people born in a particular year share personality traits beggars belief, even though millions of people do believe. After all, if it were true, I’d be just like Dim Damn Don, the bouffant buffoon currently occupying the White House, because we are, in astrological parlance, both fire dogs. And if I really were like Trumplthinskin, Paula would have thrown me out of the house years ago.

Chinese New Year is just about as late as it possibly can be this year, which may explain why it’s so warm. I used to joke that it was always cold at new year, and it certainly was last month, when at one point we hit 4 degrees on three days out of seven. And instead of being too cold for cycling yesterday, it was almost too hot, although Paula and I did complete the ‘four-hill challenge’ that I’d devised. Can’t have been hard enough.

Anyway, I don’t know whether it’s just my imagination, but every year the lion dancers seem to arrive in my village later and later in the day. This year, it was after one o’clock before they popped up on my doorstep, although they had spent an hour or so parading around the rest of the village beforehand:

The lion costumes have been laid out in advance, and the firecrackers are ready:

The lions are brought to life before the firecrackers are ignited:

You’re not supposed to start dancing yet (they must have been standing too close):

We always have a long string of firecrackers:

…and the biggest bang always comes at the end:

In the dance troupe, I didn’t recognize any of the regular members from previous years, apart from the two sifus, and it struck me that the dancers were inexperienced, which may explain why this year’s lion dance eschewed the complexities I’ve seen in past years.

Here are a few pictures:

I have only one other thing to add:

Lung ma tsing san.

‘May you have the strength of a lungma’, which you may well need in the coming year if the predictions of Chinese astrologers that I’ve read really do come true.

see also
A New Year
Enter the Dragon
Snakes Alive
A Horse with No Name
Sheep Thrills
Nuclear Chicken

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