Lion Dance

What is Lion Dance?

Lion dancing involves two performers, a drummer, a cymbal player and a gong player. The two performers control the head and tail of the lion while the drum, cymbals and gong are played in accordance to the movements of the lion. On many occasions, there is also a big-headed Buddha (Dai do fut), carrying a fan who plays with the lion and directs it to the green lettuce and red envelope.

The lettuce eating part of the dance, also called “Choy Cheng, involves having the lion chew up some lettuce and spitting it back out into pieces. Spitting the lettuce out symbolizes the showering of good fortune, happiness and prosperity.

Attached to the lettuce, is a red envelope with money inside. The lion will take the red envelope as a gift. The red envelope is a sign of gratitude for blessing the occasion with good fortune, happiness and prosperity.

History of Lion Dancing

The Lion Dance is a Chinese tradition with over two thousand years of history. There are many stories of how the lion dance was created. One of these stories is about a beast that frequently attacked a small village in China. To keep the beast away from their village, the villagers constructed a costume that resembled the beast and played loud instruments to scare the beast away. Their trick worked and the beast never came to their village again. Since then, the lion dance has been performed to scare away evil spirits, to bring good fortune, happiness and prosperity.

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