The lion dance was performed by the same group we've seen numerous times in the past at Lakeforest and other venues, but this year's Nian was a lot less reserved than in past years. First, a child's coat lying at the bottom of the bleachers was chomped and tossed into the air a few times...
The dance soon reverted to the usual chain of events, with the Nian accepting lots of hong bao from the crowd (although a few of the kids were less than thrilled to be that close to such an imposing creature).
At this point a minor crisis began unfolding backstage among Miri's group so AJ suddenly put in an appearance, dashing out to get some cosmetics and such from the bags at Mom's feet and then zooming back out of sight in a red-tinted blur.
Then things got a little strange again. (Dude, isn't it funny you don't consider your sister dashing madly in & out during a performance as "strange"...?) The highlight of the lion dance is the Nian eating, then throwing up(!), a head of lettuce or similar leafy vegetable; catching the pieces of veggie tossed from the creature's mouth will bring you luck in the new year so everyone looks forward to the event, sometimes with results similar to the scramble for a bridal bouquet among a particularly desperate group of bridesmaids & guests at a wedding. (Note: The lion dance and its equivalent in various Asian cultures is the only case I can think of where having a lion barf on you is a good thing. But I digress...)
A young girl appeared at the edge of the performance area, head of lettuce in hand, and patiently waited for the Nian to approach and take the offering. That's when this happened...
And then this happened....
Until the intrepid young
Shortly after the girl "escaped" from the hungry Nian (which we have never seen behave that way!) it developed the requisite tummyache and soon the greenery went a-flyin' into the crowd. I failed to catch any of it this year, although one chunk literally sailed past my ear close enough for me to hear the whoosh. We enjoyed the various performances that followed the lion dance, and soon could see AJ ushering the girls backstage from where they'd been watching to prepare for their own performance.
And then it was finally time for the Pipsqueak & Co. to shine in the public eye!
The performance came off without a hitch, made all the more impressive by the fact that not even once had all the girls been able to rehearse together! (Unfortunately, a couple of our cousins had been rushing to come see Miri perform for the first time, only to arrive just as the girls ran offstage -- I guess it runs in the family -- but we all enjoyed each others' company for the next hour or so.)
The girls joined the crowd for a while, and then changed out of their costumes for the rest of the day's activities. I perused the CCACC art display set up for the event while the assorted moms got the expensive costumes carefully packed away and several of the girls totaled several adults' worth of Italian ices as a reward for their hard work. We did a little shopping en masse, losing a trickle of families along the way, and then the remaining group headed into Rockville for a spicy-hot but very good CNY dinner at the Peter Chang restaurant.
|The besties on their way out of the mall.|