DARIEN, Conn. — With no school in session on Tuesday, the Darien Library was packed with several dozen kids for a program called the Chinese Lion Dance Performance to celebrate the Chinese New Year.
The program was put on by dancers from the New York Cultural Center in Manhattan who performed in bright sequined red and gold costumes, using ribbons and other props.
A giant lion made an appearance and danced around the performers. Children — a few of whom were a bit frighted by the large creature — got to touch its feet.
Kids also learned some Chinese expressions such as one that's pronounced "Me How Ma," which means "Hi, how are you?"
Dancers brought volunteers from the audience up front to learn some of the traditional dance moves. One was the ribbon dance, which is the most famous folk dance in Chinese culture, according to Yang Wang, principal dancer at the cultural center.
“We dance with the red color ribbon because Chinese people believe that the color red will bring them good luck," she said. “To perform the ribbon dance, we are also bringing everybody good luck."
The dancers travel year-round to perform in libraries, public schools, museums and cultural festivals throughout New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.
The Chinese animal zodiac repeats in a 12-year cycle, with each year represented by an animal and its attributes. The Chinese New Year officially began Jan. 28, but the library celebrated on Tuesday.
This is the year of the Rooster. According to Chinese culture, Rooster means determined, confidence and proud. "Whoever is born in the year of the Rooster should possess these traits,” Yang said.