CHINESE NEW YEAR – Lion and Dragon Dance

The Dragon Dance is the highlight of the Chinese New Year (Lunar New Year) celebrations.

In Chinese culture, dragons are thought to be friendly, helpful creatures.  The imperial dragon has 5 toes and carries a pearl in its mouth.  In the dragon dance the long body of the dragon chases after the pearl.  Watch this video from Melbourne Chinatown in 2016.

The Lion Dance is very acrobatic and there are 2 people in each lion body.  In Chinese culture the lion is thought to be lucky, helpful and protective, a bit like guard dogs.  Often pairs of lion statues (called “fu lions” are often placed at the entrance to Buddhist temples and other sacred places.  The lion in the dance is meant to be lucky and to chase away evil spirits.  These lions are not meant to look real because the lion did not originally live in China and people formed their idea of what lions would look like from stories heard from travellers.