Happy Chinese New Year… Year of the Horse

www.kimminichiello.comLion Dance, Watercolor on Archival Paper, 36″ x 36″

After living in Hong Kong, I’m always aware of the Chinese New Year!  So, Happy New Year… Year of the Horse!  I lived there during two Chinese New Years and they were my favorite holidays observed there.  Based on the lunar calendar, the fifteen day celebration started yesterday and ushers out the year of the water snake and in the year of the wooden horse.  Feng shui masters say the year of the horse may be tough for any negotiating because people stand firm in their beliefs and convictions. If this is true, I guess Congress won’t be getting much work done this year either!

www.kimminichiello.com

Reward, Watercolor on Archival Paper, 6″ x 6″

Original painting available for purchase here.

Limited Edition Giclée Print & Note Cards available for purchase here.

The decorations are spectacular,  we always had the most beautiful pink flowering plum trees in the lobby of our apartment building. Flowers are an important part of the New Year Celebration.  Plum blossoms symbolize courage and hope, narcissus, good luck and fortune, and tangerines and oranges are displayed as a sign of wealth and luck.  Flowering plum and mandarin trees adorn many homes, businesses and temples throughout Hong Kong.

Everyone is the the holiday spirit similar to the Christmas spirit here.  The celebration lasts for many days and has different phases, where different customs are observed.   One is the ever popular Lie See envelopes.  These small red envelopes you tuck money inside are adorned with symbols for good fortune and luck, and sometimes have cartoon characters because it is a tradition to give them to children.   Work colleagues or people in business relationships give them to each other too.  As is the custom, to not forget all the service people that help you throughout the year.

The parades, Lion Dance and acrobatic performances and fireworks are spectacular, and are not to be missed!  All around a beautiful, festive, fun time of year.

Kim MinichielloLimited Edition Giclée Prints & Note Cards of my work available here.

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Lion Dance

www.kimminichiello.comLion Dance, Watercolor, 36″ x 36″

When my family and I moved to Hong Kong, it was right after Christmas and right before the Chinese New Year Celebration, the year of the pig.  We had no idea the extent of this holiday and it was a real treat to experience it while living there.  There are so many fascinating traditions, celebrations, and spectacles that last fifteen days.  One of my favorite things to experience was the Lion Dance.  These can break out anywhere.  They were performed several times in our apartment complex, and whenever we heard the loud gong, cymbals and drums we would rush down to watch.    The dance  is to provoke good luck, and is performed by two people usually trained in martial arts, one person performing the head and the other the body. They dance along the route to a gong, drums and cymbals.  Sometimes following a laughing Buddha, dressed in monks robes wearing a mask.  Above the doorways are placed heads of romaine lettuce or some type of greens.  The lion eats the lettuce and scatters the leaves on the ground for good luck.  There is mirror on the head of the lion so that evil spirits can be frightened away by their own reflections.

This painting Lion Dance depicts a lion head-piece from a performance that I saw.  I loved working on this painting, the bold color, the subject matter and the size really spoke to me.  I almost feel as if it painted itself!  I love it when that happens!   This is the largest painting I have done in watercolor it measures 36” x 36”.  I really enjoyed working big!

 

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