July 2, 2016

Mostly clear

Medina restaurant ushers in Chinese New Year

MEDINA — The lions took over House of Hunan on Sunday, bringing good luck for the new year.

Each year, the Kwan Family Lion Dance team, of Cleveland, performs at the restaurant to celebrate Chinese New Year.

The lion paraded around the House of Hunan in Medina on Sunday evening to celebrate Chinese New Year. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY KIERA MANION-FISCHER)

A multicolored lion, with two people underneath it, paraded and pranced to the tune of crashing cymbals, a drum and a gong. Soon, the lion had another child-size lion for company.

Toward the end of the dance, the cymbals and drums slowly lulled the larger lion to sleep, then woke it with a bang.

Troupe member George Kwan said the dance is a 4,000-year-old traditional blessing ceremony. The lion chases away evil spirits and brings prosperity and good luck.

“We keep all the old traditions alive,” he said.

The dozen-member family team had seven performances Sunday, the first day the of Chinese New Year, Kwan said.

Each year is named for an animal in the Chinese zodiac, and this year will be the year of the snake.

Cheryl Suen, one of the restaurant’s owners, said she invites the dance team back every year to teach Medina County residents about Chinese culture. The event is a popular one; the restaurant was packed for the evening.

“We hope to bring our culture to this area,” she said.

People of Asian descent make up only about 1 percent of Medina County’s population. But it is a fast-growing segment.

The 2010 census counted 1,660 Asian residents, compared to 969 in 2000 — an increase of 71 percent. The number of Asian residents who identified themselves as Chinese jumped to 292 — a nearly 50 percent increase.

House of Hunan serves Chinese, Thai and Japanese dishes, and is located at 18 Public Square in Medina. It also has locations in Fairlawn and Akron.

Contact Kiera Manion-Fischer at (330) 721-4049 or kfischer@medina-gazette.com.