Lunar New Year: Lion Dance Performance
Join us in welcoming the year of the rat!
Date and time: Saturday 25th January at 1pm starting outside David Jones and Thursday 30th January at 6:30pm starting near Portmans and Myer
The Origin and History of Lion Dances
In traditional Chinese culture, the lion, like the Chinese dragon, was only an animal which existed in myth, and there were no actual lions in China. Before the Han Dynasty (202 BC–220 AD), only a few lions had reached the Central Plains from the western area of ancient China (now Xinjiang), due to Silk Road trade.
At that time, people mimicked the appearance and actions of the newly arrived lions in a performance, which developed into the lion dance in the Three Kingdoms Period (220–280) and then became popular with the rise of Buddhism in the Northern and Southern Dynasties (420–589). In the Tang Dynasty (618–907), the lion dance was one of the court dances.
After that lion dances continued to become a popular performance among the people, to pray for good luck during the Spring Festival or during other celebrations.
The lion dance is an excellent example of Chinese folk culture, which has spread across the world with Chinese immigration. Overseas Chinese in Europe, America, etc. have established many lion dance clubs, performing on Chinese festivals or big occasions, particularly Chinese New Year.
Information source: China Highlights