‘Lions’ raid businesses in celebration of Lunar New Year

Canton Restaurant guests enjoy the lion dance performance during lunch last Tuesday.  (Erwin Encinares)

The Chinese Association of the CNMI performed traditional lion dances in several businesses throughout Saipan yesterday in celebration of the Lunar New Year.

Lion dances are customary during celebration of the Lunar New Year and signifies the richness of the Chinese culture.

“We share that culture with other countries like [Saipan], we share the culture to the local people,” said Chinese Association of the CNMI’s Rose Chan.

Chan said the lion dance goes hand in hand with fireworks and percussive instruments—traditionally symbolic to drive away evil spirits and bring luck to a business establishment.

“…We expel evil spirits and wild animals with the lion dance. They chase away evil so when the drum beats, it scares the evil spirits. When wild animals hear the firecrackers, they stay away,” she said. “When there are no more evil spirits and wild animals, the good luck enters and keeps coming.”

The lion dance also serves as a fundraiser for the Chinese Education Center in Chinatown. The education center teaches Cantonese to those of Chinese descent and others interested. Chan is currently the school’s principal.

“[The students] go to regular English classes in the morning and in the evening they go to the Chinese Education Center to learn their culture and their language,” she said.

She noted that their target is to raise about $10,000 annually, and the association had been conducting lion dances since 1987, back when their president was Tan Siu Lin, father of TanHoldings president and chief executive officer Jerry Tan.

Businesses visited Tuesday included the TSL Plaza, JP Center, Century Hotel, Transamerica, Saipan Computer Services, LT Travel, IT&E, Saipan Apparel, POI Aviation, Shirley’s Coffee Shop and Restaurant, Hyatt Regency Saipan, Pacific Gift Shop, Canton Restaurant, Nice Health, Majesty Restaurant, Aqua Resort Club, Kanoa Resort, iShop Kanoa, Century Tours, Club C, Pacific Islands Club, Joeten-Kiyu Public Library, CTSI, Let’s Go Tours, Dollar Days, Micro Beach Hotel, Grandvrio Resort, Fiesta Resort and Spa Saipan, Sea Touch, iShop Fiesta, Saipan Adventures, I Love Saipan, Tasty Burger, Marianas Visitors Authority, Arc, Kensington Hotel, New Double Restaurant, DFS T Galleria, and Imperial Pacific Resort.

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.

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