Lion dance is a form of traditional dance in Chinese culture. Lion dance performers
mimic a lion's movements in a lion costume. These dance fundamental movements can be found in most Chinese basic martial arts.
Once upon a monk, a Buddhist monk had a nightmare where sorrows and evils plaguing the land.
He prayed to Buddha so that such suffering will not occur. He was told that a lion would protect him and his people from the evils.
However, the Chinese only heard about the lion has the king of all animals but had never seen a lion before. Thus, the monk combined
all the lucky or magical animals to create his own lion.
Lion dances can be broadly categorized into three styles, Chinese Northern, Chinese Southern,
and Taiwanese. The Chinese Northern dance was used as entertainment for the imperial court and elsewhere. The northern lion is usually
red, orange and yellow (sometimes with green fur for the female lion), shaggy in appearance, with a golden head. The northern dance
is acrobatic and may include dangerous stunts.
The Chinese Southern lion dance is usually performed as a ceremony to scare away evil spirits
and to bring good luck and fortune. The Chinese southern lion exhibits a wide variety of colors and has a distinctive head with large
eyes (of an eagle), a mirror on the forehead (demons are supposedly scared of their own reflection), and a single horn at center of
the head (the horn of a unicorn mentioned earlier). Lion dance costumes are traditionally blessed before usage.
The Southern Lion Dance is always performed by two performers and often in pairs of two lions.
Due to the higher physical demands of the Southern Lion Dance, it is required that the performers have some martial arts background.
The Lion dance is always accompanied by drums, gongs and cymbals that slows or speed up as the
lion so dance. Lion dance are in popular demand during auspicious periods such as Chinese New Year, opening of new business, moving into
a new residence etc.