The loud drumming and colourful costumes associated with lion dance performances bring the festive spirit to our heartlands every Chinese New Year (CNY).
This CNY, however, celebrations are going to be a more muted affair at many places as a result of new Covid-19 regulations.
To prevent crowding during the pandemic, lion dance performances will not be allowed at some public venues such as kopitiams, homes, and markets.
For some, it’s a yearly affair to engage lion dance troupes to perform cai qing（采青) rituals during CNY in hopes of bringing prosperity and good luck.
For CNY 2021, this will not be allowed at many places in order to prevent public gatherings. These places include:
However, performances can still go on at ‘larger’ places, including:
Even so, the number of performers must reportedly be kept to a maximum of 8, according to The Straits Times (ST). Most of them, except the 2 maneuvering the head and tail of the ‘lion’, must have their masks on during the performance.
Explaining the decision, the President of the Singapore Wushu Dragon & Lion Dance Federation said cai qing rituals this year should be a “private event with no customers or patrons”.
Considering the restriction on the number of performers, dragon dance – which requires more manpower – will not be possible this year.
Needless to say, the new regulations have had a significant impact on the lion dance troupes, with many of their customers “dropping out” claiming that it’s troublesome.
In light of this, some performance groups have decided not to perform at all this year, as they struggle to cope with the expenses, reports ST.
As of Sunday (17 Jan), some 85 lion dance troupes have apparently applied for permits that allow them to perform.
Though CNY 2021 is likely to be a muted affair, we hope Singaporeans would be understanding, since the regulations are in place with everyone’s safety in mind.
Let’s hope the Covid-19 pandemic would subside by this time next year, so we can return to having our ‘normal’ CNY celebrations once again.
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Featured image adapted from Flickr.
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