Chinese New Year Entertainment: The Year of the Pig
Celebrated by one-quarter of the world, Chinese New Year is a hugely important time across Asia and culturally diverse cities globally.
The Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival as it’s also known, has more than 4,000 years of history and is the longest holiday of the Chinese year. In the 21st century, the national holiday begins on the first of the Lunar Calendar, this year falling on the 5th February 2019.
Each year has a zodiac animal which is assigned not just for a month, but for the whole year. There are 12 animal zodiacs which repeat on a 12-year cycle.
2019 is the Year of the Pig. In Chinese culture pigs are the symbol of wealth with their chubby faces and big ears a sign of fortune, prompting an opportunity for a whole host of pig-inspired imagery and influences!
Cultural Chinese Acts For A New Year Celebration
Traditional customs at Chinese New Year include praying to the Gods, fighting off monsters with fireworks and red decorations, exchanging gifts, eating dumplings, and most importantly of all, reuniting with family.
Also an important time for brands, retailers, cultural festivals and events as well as families, iconic Chinese entertainment is often central to the festivities.
Performances such as Chinese opera, lion dances and Chinese acrobats have always been part of Spring Festival celebrations. Fusing ancient traditions and contemporary influences, we take a look at our favourite Chinese entertainment to celebrate the approaching Year of the Pig.
Traditional Fan Dancers perform for crowds at a Chinese New Year celebration
Lion and Dragon Dances
Among the best-known of the Chinese traditional dances are the Dragon dance and Lion dance.
In some of the earliest dances recorded in China, dancers may have dressed as animals and mythical beasts, and during the Han Dynasty, some forms of the Dragon dance were mentioned.
Today’s Dragon dance uses a light-weight structure manipulated by up to 50 Chinese acrobats using poles at regular intervals along the length of the dragon to create the iconic undulating and sweeping movements.
In contrast to the Dragon Dance, the Lion Dance is generally performed with only 2 dancers. In northern China, the Lion Dance is generally much more evocative, being performed by Chinese acrobatic dancers, suggesting all the ferocity and agility of the mighty lion. In South China, the lion takes on the more symbolic role of one who guards against – or in some cases exorcises – evil spirits.
An authentic Lion Dance guards against evil spirits
Among the most requested cultural Chinese acts, calligraphy is held in high esteem across East Asia. Considered an art due to the technical precision it requires, calligraphy paintings make fantastic live art entertainment for events as well as personalised gifts for guests.
During Chinese new year, people decorate by hanging up certain words - the most common being ‘fu’ which means happiness and good fortune. It is written with calligraphy onto a square piece of red paper to be pasted onto walls, doors or windows.
A master of the ancient art of calligraphy, our Live Calligrapher is perfect for clients looking to provide guests with beautiful mementoes of their special occasion.
A live calligrapher creates Chinese New year decorations for guests
Sugar painting is thought to have originated during the Ming dynasty when small animals made of sugar were created in moulds for religious rituals. Today, the folk art is practised by making 2-dimensional figures and is a popular snack for children.
Customers, especially children, usually select a figure by spinning the arrow on a wheel which will randomly land on such popular figures as a dragon, fish, monkey, dog, bird, or flower basket.
Our talented Sugar Painter creates food sculptures by drizzling the melted sugar onto white marble or metal and placing the whole creation on a stick ready to be enjoyed.
Create traditional sweet treats with a live sugar painter
Many of the traditional dances in China have a long history. These may be folk dances or dances that were once performed as rituals or as an entertainment spectacle, and some may have been performed in the imperial court.
Prepare to be led on a spiritual journey with our Traditional Chinese Dance Group whose Thousand-Hand Guan Yin performance brings to life the bring to life the dance of Buddhist goddess Guan Yin and her many arms.
Discover our other talented troupes whose song and dance performances range from traditional classic styles such as fan dancing, folk, ethnic and modern acts.
The stunning Thousand-Hand Guan Yin dance
Face-changing, or biàn liǎn in Chinese, is an important subgenre of Chinese opera. A fascinating performance with its roots in the Sichuan opera, this highly unique and enthralling act involves performers in brightly coloured costumes changing masks. The masks depict characters from the opera and appear to change almost instantaneously to fast-paced, intense music.
The technique behind this lightning-fast mask changes is a closely guarded secret, and the mystery of it adds to the excitement of the show. Traditionally only men were permitted to learn biàn liǎn, the theory being that women do not stay within the family and would marry out, increasing the risk the secret would be passed to another family.
Discover the thrill of face-changing with our Mask Changing Act.
Wow guests with the unbelievable skill of traditional Chinese face-changing, biàn liǎn
Few things could wow guests at your Year of the Pig celebration more than watching the famous traditional tale of Mulan come to life.
The story of Mulan dates back to over 1,600 years ago when each family was given a conscription notice, requiring one man from each family to join the Chinese army. When Mulan, the eldest child of the family, hears that her elderly father, (the only man in their family) who is gravely ill, is forced to join the army, she decides to stand in his place, disguising herself as a young man.
This fantastic show combines a unique blend of Eastern and Western culture; the musical combines drum music, Kung Fu and dance to tell an ancient story whilst creating unique rhythmic styles by blending both Eastern and Western drumming influences.
Telling the story of an inspirational traditional legend, this Mulan show is a spectacular of music, drumming, and dance
Mark the Year of the Pig with Memorable Entertainment
One of the most important nights of the year, Chinese New Year is full of meaning and impact for the Chinese as well as other cultures around the world.
With so much rich history and tradition to draw upon and blend with contemporary influences, Chinese New Year is the perfect time to celebrate with cultural Chinese acts. Pay homage to ancient entertainment, or create your own interpretations that can evolve into new traditions. With a roster of outstanding artists and Chinese entertainment, the only limit is your imagination.
We wish you health, hope and happiness for the Year of the Pig, xīn nián kuài lè!
The Dragon dance can be performed by up to 50 artists to create the iconic swooping movements
Looking For More?
Discover more of our Chinese entertainment for Chinese new year celebrations, cultural events, themed parties and more. Discover our roster of cultural Chinese acts spanning lion dancers, Chinese acrobats, calligraphy, Kung Fu masters and more for further inspiration.
Get In Touch
Our Entertainment Experts are masters at developing tailored entertainment concepts for private and corporate events. Get in touch with our team to find out how we can make your event unforgettable.