If you’ve ever seen or been part of a Chinese New Year festival, you may have witnessed the Chinese Lion Dance. Two individuals dressed in a lion costume perform a dance to drums and music to bring good luck and fortune to the local community.
The lion dance costumes are usually made with bright colors. There are two main styles of lion dance costumes, from the northern and southern region of China.
The Chinese Northern Lion has long orange and yellow fur on the body. A male and female lion is differentiated by a red and green bow, respectively.
Via Cultural China
The Chinese Southern Lion has a few more variations of appearance depending on the style: “Fut San (Buddha Mountain), Hok san (Crane Style), Fut-Hok (minor style that exhibits a hybrid of Fut San and Hok San), Jow Ga (minor style performed by practitioners of Jow family style kung fu, exampled by the Wong People), and the Green Lion (Qing1 Shi1 – popular with the Fukien/Hokkien and Taiwanese).” [Source]
Here are some examples of the Chinese Southern lion.
During the Chinese New Year celebrations, the Chinese lion will visit local businesses and homes. The community will prepare a giant head of lettuce and a red envelope for the lion to “eat” when they visit. The lion brings good luck and fortune to the community, and then is given the red envelope as a gift.
If two lions approach the same lettuce, they will compete by doing elaborate martial arts moves and dances, and the winner will gain respect and praise to their group.
The lion dance is not just popular among the Chinese. There are also variations of it in other parts of Asia, such as Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Japan.
The Chinese Lion Dance is an important part of the Chinese New Year celebration. Have you ever seen a Chinese Lion Dance? Let us know in the comments below. We can’t wait to see the lions perform again for 2013!