The Chinese Lion Dance

With the accompaniment of drums and gongs, performers in a lion costume mimic a lion’s movements in accord with the rhythm and tempo. (Exit1979/Flickr)
With the accompaniment of drums and gongs, performers in a lion costume mimic a lion’s movements in accord with the rhythm and tempo. (Exit1979/Flickr)

The lion dance is a traditional folk performance common to East Asia that originated in China. With the accompaniment of drums and gongs, performers in a lion costume mimic a lion’s movements in accord with the rhythm and tempo.

According to Chinese folk customs, the lion dance is regarded as a way to drive evil spirits away. Villagers also perform the lion dance during Chinese New Year and the Buddha’s birthday in order to bring blessings to their homes and their crops. Today, it has become a popular performance during events such as opening ceremony and the Spring Festival (Chinese lunar New Year) for the atmosphere and spirit that it arouses.

The Lion dance has spread all over the world with Chinese migrating overseas. It is especially popular in Malaysia and Singapore, while it unfortunately has lost its charm in the mainland where it originated. Overseas Chinese people in the world have established many lion dance associations in order to celebrate Chinese New Year and important events of their new home.

The lion is the king of beasts, and stands for bravery, as well as being a symbol of good luck.

lion dance

The lion is the king of beasts, and stands for bravery, as well as being a symbol of good luck. (Beggs/Flickr)

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