A historic first in Maylan: “Dragon,” “lion” dance together in city streets, plaza for Lantern Festival

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HIMAMAYLAN CITY – For the first time, the dances of two separate Chinese civic groups in Bacolod City performed in the streets here.

Together. Eighty kilometers away from home.

And this was made possible by the First Lantern Festival, a celebration for the Chinese New Year conceived by Mayor Raymund Tongson who is now rolling out events as part of attracting businessmen to this awakening young city among which are the two dances.

Performers of the Amity Volunteer Fire Brigade prepare for their dragon dance in the southern Negros city of Himamaylan that is celebrating today its first Lantern Festival. The “dragon” of Amity will visit business in stablishments in the city. The Chinese believe the dragon, a mythical creature, brings luck and fortune to men. | Photos by Richard D. Meriveles

Lions, according to Chinese legends, symbolized power, majesty, and courage while Chinese dragons stand for luck, power, and nobility.

With a population of more than 100,000, the third class city is finding its way out of what some say the economic doldrums from which it has stayed for quite a time.

Himamaylan Mayor Raymund I. Tongson, Jr. delivers his opening speech during the Himamaylan city's First Lantern Festival.
Himamaylan Mayor Raymund I. Tongson, Jr. delivers his opening speech during the Himamaylan city’s First Lantern Festival.

“Growth, prosperity, development,” these are what the Metal Rat indicates to us,” Tongson told the crowd that gathered at the city plaza here to witness the dance.

It is the first time that this city marked the Chinese New Year, a one-day event that came on the heels of the Spring Festival and the BacoLaodiat in Bacolod City.

Tongson said the Chinese believe the metal rat is a positive sign for the rest of the 11 animal signs.

“It is the first of the 12 signs,” he said.

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