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Pang, Blog 6

In Chinese culture the Lion Dance is a traditional folk dance that is performed during Lunar New Year. The origins of the Lion Dance are debatable, but most see it as originating from the folk story of Nian Shou or Nian. Nian was a monster who would terrorize villagers during Lunar New Year celebrations. But the villagers fought back by creating a beast of their own, as Nian came “two men wearing the beast costume came charging out while the rest of the villagers created a racket by banging on pots and pans” (Yap, The Origin of the Lion Dance and Legend of Nian). Which lead to Nian being scared off and started the tradition of performing the Lion Dance during Lunar New Year celebrations.  

The Lion Dance is performed generally with two people who go under the heavy costume and perform acrobatic dances, like jumping onto each other’s shoulders to display the fierce movements of a lion. During the Lion Dance performance there would be multiple different kinds of lions that were different colors such as red or yellow which symbolize luck and wealth in Chinese culture. During the dance, musicians would follow the lions into the street, stores, or restaurants and play traditional instruments such as drums, cymbals, and gongs. All these instruments reflect the loud banging that had scared off Nian. Firecrackers were also used during the performance to add more flair and loudness to the performance.  

I think the Lion Dance is still very much tied to my culture, but it’s also growing towards popular culture. This is because many people can enjoy the performance without knowing the specific cultural history or traditions it’s a part of, where they can have their own kind of appreciation for the performance.