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Fragrant Dragon Dance

( www.chinadaily.com.cn )

Updated: 2011-06-10

The Dragon Dance can be dated back to the end of the Yuan Dynasty and the beginning of the Ming Dynasty 600 years ago.

The Ming rulers learned the lessons of the Yuan Dynasty and pursued a policy of mollification, thereby resulting in a politically stable and economically sound period of development. To celebrate the harvest and pray for good luck, wealth, peace, and God’s blessing, the people living the remote mountainous Shuangxi Town of Pingnan County made the fragrant dragons.

The dragon body packed with the straw, nails was used to fasten them to a board about 1 foot long and 1.5 feet wide. Each section of wood was connected together with concave-convex wedge headers. Lucky numbers 6 and 8 were used for the length of the dragons; hence the entire dragon is about 16 or 18 feet long.

Fine fragrance of a thumb thick and 50cm long was pierced with the dragon body. Hence, every ten feet of the dragon body became a section, each equipped with three specially trained, strong dancers. Dye glass or light bulb was used as the eyes of the dragon, decorated with a coating or light, and lighting intensity was controlled by a storage battery switch.

The person who carries the dragon head are required to be tall, heavy, and agile so that he can command the fragrant sweet dragon to move on. The best time arranged for the performance of Fragrant Dragon Dance is at 7 or 8pm. Right after the sounds of the blunderbuss, three strikes of the gong, three rolls of the drum, and three shouts of the dragon head carrier, the fragrant dragon, under the direction of the dragon lantern, led by the dragon head, drags the body to move this way and that and the dragon’s tail to rise and fall in turn. As the dragon lantern shines, the fragrant dragon, just like the fire-breathing dragon, jumps from the sea, leaps in a curvet with an overwhelming force. On this special occasion, there is a crowd of spectators and thousands of visitors.