Hong Kong Dragon and Lion Dance to Bring Good Luck
Lion dance (舞獅) is a form of traditional dance in Chinese culture and other Asian countries in which performers mimic a lion’s movements in a lion costume to bring good luck and fortune. The lion dance is usually performed during the Chinese New Year and other Chinese traditional, cultural and religious festivals. It may also be performed at important occasions such as business opening events, special celebrations or wedding ceremonies, or may be used to honour special guests by the Chinese communities.
The Chinese lion dance is normally operated by two dancers, one of whom manipulates the head while the other forms the rear end of the lion. It is distinguishable from the dragon dance which is performed by many people who hold the long sinuous body of the dragon on poles. Chinese lion dance fundamental movements can be found in Chinese martial arts, and it is commonly performed to a vigorous drum beat.
There are two main forms of the Chinese lion dance, the Northern Lion and the Southern Lion. Both forms are commonly found in China and around the world especially in Southeast Asia, the Southern Lion predominates as it was spread by the Chinese diaspora communities who are historically mostly of Southern Chinese origin. Versions of lion dance related to the Chinese lion are also found in Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam. Besides the Chinese-based lion dance, the other forms of lion dance also exist in Indonesia, for example the Barong dance and Sisingaan dance in Javanese, Sundanese, and Balinese cultures.
Dragon dance (舞龙) is a form of traditional dance and performance in Chinese culture. Like the lion dance, it is most often seen during festive celebrations. The dance is performed by a team of experienced dancers who manipulate a long flexible giant puppet of a dragon using poles positioned at regular intervals along the length of the dragon. The dance team simulates the imagined movements of this river spirit in a sinuous, undulating manner.
The dragon dance is often performed during Chinese New Year. Chinese dragons are a symbol of China’s culture, and they are believed to bring good luck to people, therefore the longer the dragon is in the dance, the more luck it will bring to the community. The dragons are believed to possess qualities that include great power, dignity, fertility, wisdom and auspiciousness. The appearance of a dragon is both fearsome and bold but it has a benevolent disposition, and it was an emblem to represent imperial authority. The movements in a performance traditionally symbolize the power and dignity of the dragon.
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