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    Posted February 10, 2013 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Celebrating Chinese New Year

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    The Young Men and Women Behind the Dragon Dance


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     Philippines resident kormenSDiego captured these images of young people in her neighborhood dressed as dragons celebrating Chinese lunar new year. "I wasn't planning on seeing a dragon dance, since we live far from [the city's]Chinatown, but I was lucky to catch this just outside the house," she said.
    - sarahbrowngb, CNN iReport producer

    The sound of the drums have awaken me this morning as we enter Chinese New Year's Day here in the Philippines. The dragon dancers have started their rounds and they are visiting some of the houses in the area.


    This is one time in the year where the dragon dancers are the busiest. In a country where the Chinese culture is secondary, we may not have as many full time dragon dance teams. The dragon dancers can simply be volunteers, and some can only do this part-time. But if you are familiar with the dance, this is not an easy task, each team member is expected to be as skilled as experienced acrobats, martial artists and musicians, to be able to meet the speed, agility and harmonious coordination requirements. The best teams train all year long and join competitions around the world.


    I used to remember my family did this the first new year after we moved in to our house. The dragon is said to be a helpful and friendly creature who symbolizes courage, good luck, power, dignity, wisdom and long life, to name just a few of his many noble characteristics; while the lion scares away evil spirits and bring prosperity and luck.


    The dragon dancers would perform a short dance with the banging sounds getting louder and louder, you could almost hear your heart beating as loud. At the end, they reach for the red envelope, which contains their prize. My dad would hang the red envelope from the roof of the 2nd floor to make it more challenging, haha! And the energetic dragon dancers would climb up with the dragon and lion heads one step at a time while dancing, further heightening the anticipation. They leap from one area to another almost like they're flying, and finally after some time of challenging stretches, they reach for the red envelope!


    Even after all these years, I still get excited watching the dragon dances whenever I can. It is also very refreshing to see that the tradition so intensely embedded in each of the young men and women that make up the dragon dance team.

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