Hundreds of people sat in awe as the Hoa Dao Lion Dance Team performed Jan. 15. The dance is usually performed around Lunar New Year’s and is meant to scare evil spirits away and bring good luck.
Chinh Truong, 43, the leader and coach of the Hoa Dao Lion Dance Association, began dancing 20 years ago.
“We are very proud to be a part of the team that we can share our Vietnamese culture with everybody to see what we have. It’s a tradition that we have held thousands of years ago until now,” Truong said. “We keep that alive, even though we are away from our country, we can bring and share that culture to the other countries like America to see what we have.”
Truong joined to preserve his traditions and culture, he said. He recounted the lore of the evil lion who terrorized people until monks tamed and domesticated it. In Truong’s story, the lion flipped sides from evil to good and helped scare other evil away from homes during the Lunar New Year time.
Now, Truong coaches the team for performances like the Spring Blossom Festival at the Hương Đạo Temple, 4717 E. Rosedale St., where thousands of people gathered from Jan. 13-15.
The festival was a combination of the Spring blossom celebration and the Lunar New Year’s celebration, Minh Vu, a volunteer at Hương Đạo Temple, said. Colorful flowers decorated the interior of the venue.
“Yellow flowers usually bloom in the spring, and that’s why you see a lot of those here. Orange flowers signify longevity. That’s why you have different plants that we always offer,” Vu said. “We’re trying to get fundraising from the event to start this big project.”
The project, a 14-acre expansion of the Buddhist temple, consists of 840 stupas, or Buddhist commemorative monuments, that will house the sacred teachings of the Buddha. The texts are the Classical Buddhist Sutras, or the sayings of the Buddha carried down orally after he died and were compiled into collections called sutras, the Report previously reported.
“We’re trying to build that, but, of course, we don’t have the funding. You can’t do it alone from people donating because not everybody can donate that much and the project is $150 million right now,” Vu said. “The price may increase or decrease depending on the market.”
All of the decorating and organizing was done voluntarily, Vu said. As a part of cutting costs, the festival will not only represent the culture and religion, but also help in creating a larger worshiping space for Fort Worth.
“The main thing is to celebrate our culture and the new year, but also try to fundraise money for the building,” Vu said.
As part of the lion dance, guests exchange red envelopes with money in them. Red symbolizes luck, Truong said.
“I grew up here. I came here when I was little. All of my kids did. We would love to keep the cultures and traditions alive, at least for them,” Truong said. “United States is the combination of all of the cultures. It’s very beautiful to me.”
Cristian ArguetaSoto is the community engagement journalist at the Fort Worth Report. Contact him by email or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.