It's 2014, and our family is embarking on our virtual travel to West Africa. To explore these countries and their culture, we will follow along with the festivals, cook and eat traditional foods, learn of traditional handicrafts with hands on exploration, along with many activities to immerse ourselves.

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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Beyond the Great Wall - Dai Peacock Dance

There are 1.5 billion people who live in China, and approximately 92% are Han Chinese, that is ethnically Chinese. Most of this blog explores the Han culture. However, in the outer regions of China, beyond the great wall,  various ethnic "minorities" abound. In fact, there are 56 officially recognized ethnic "minorities" in China, which accounts for about 125 million people.
To the Dai, the peacock is revered as a symbol of peace, happiness, good fortune and beauty.

A golden peacock is used as a decoration throughout town, over archways and homes during their new year, also known as the water splashing festival.

Photo Credit: Jordan Sitkin
Continue reading to watch the peacock dance, and make a golden peacock craft

The Peacock Dance is their most loved folk dance. Apparently, most Dai know how to perform the peacock dance. The dance mimics the movements of a peacock and has strict rules about which components it must include to be considered a proper dance. The dance is quite beautiful, with dancers imitating a peacock 's actions, like flying from its nest, and spreading its tail.

Dai Peacock Dance Performer
Photo Credit: SFFoghorn
This graceful dance can be seen in this video. After watching it, we had fun practicing the peacock hand shadow.

We also made our own golden peacock, which turned out quite nice. There's a printable template at the bottom of the post. We used gold tissue paper because we had it on hand, but that involved gluing it to regular paper to give it some strength. I'm sure there are gorgeous gold scrapbooking papers that would look wonderful.



Fold your paper accordion style - we wanted large feathers, so folded it at 1 1/2 inches. We also needed two sheets of paper to have enough feathers to fan out properly.



Keeping the paper folded, trace the feather pattern and cut it out. Unfold and decorate the top of your "feathers" - this was a great use for those metallic wrappers from chocolate Easter eggs. Draw, paint, or cut out paper to decorate and create the "eyes" of your feathers.




In order to attach both sheets of paper, turn them over and use a few folded pieces of gold paper to attach them together, as though the gold paper was tape. Fan out the folds, folding the bottom of the two outer feathers at an angle, as pictured below. Staple it all together.


Trace and cut out the body, glue on the beak, draw on some eyes. We attached the body to the feathers with a glue gun.




Enjoy your peacock, and all the good fortune it brings :)

To learn more about the Dai, check out our other posts for Beyond the Great Wall, including a printable bookmark inspired by Dai embroidery , bamboo architecture, a water splashing festival, and a Dai pineapple rice recipe.

You can find more cultural and historical activities at the following linkups:

You can find more school aged activities at the following linkups:

14 comments:

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    1. Thank you! Elle and I had fun creating it.

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  2. This is fantastic! I loved watching the dance and the craft would make me want to dance!

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    1. Thank you! Isn't the dance beautiful? We loved watching it.

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  3. Gorgeous! What a fun craft and beautiful dance! It's fascinating to learn about the Dai, as I didn't know anything about them before. Thanks for sharing at the Culture Swapper!

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  4. Thank you! We've had a great time learning about the Dai, and now the Miao - such colorful cultures!

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  5. What a beautiful peacock craft, and thank you for uploading the template! This is definitely something I want to do with my son. Thank you so much for linking at the Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop #3.

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    1. Thanks Frances! If you do the craft, I'd love to see a picture of how it turns out :)

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    2. Of course, Marie! I'm always looking for fun crafts to do with my son.

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  6. What an incredible post - I am pinning this to use in our homeschool - Thank you for linking up to the Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop!

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    1. Thank you! I'd love to see a picture if you end up making one in your homeschool :)

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  7. Congrats! You were featured in the CKC Blog hop! http://discoveringtheworldthroughmysonseyes.blogspot.com/2013/05/creative-kids-culture-blog-hop-4.html

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  8. I'm the Editorial Assistant for Fun Family Crafts and I wanted to let you know that we have featured your peacock project! You can see it here:

    http://funfamilycrafts.com/golden-peacock/

    If you have other kid friendly crafts, we'd love it if you would submit them. If you would like to display a featured button on your site, you can grab one from the right side bar of your post above. Thanks for a wonderful project idea!

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