Friday, June 21, 2013

What is Lion Dancing?

I had nothing planned to post today, literally nothing. Then I realized that I have posts up about Bee and his lion dance students but I've never actually talked about his lion dancing. So here is a short post with some basic information on Chinese Lion Dance.

So this is what a lion looks like. No, that is not a dragon. It is a common misconception. Dragons are actually longer and attached to poles. Lion dances are usually requested for blessings and good luck. Giving money to the lion will also bring good luck. This is called feeding the lion.

The instruments are considered a very important part of lion dancing. The drum is considered the beating heart. Without it, the lion cannot live. There are some religions that actually consider lion dancing to be evil because they consider it an exorcism of sorts. In Chinese culture, that means they are bringing the spirit of the lion to life through their performance.

Here are some things to remember when feeding the lion:
  • Giving loose change is actually considered rude. Seriously, they have to stick that money in their shirts. One performance, Bee's friend had so much loose change that he made noise from walking because it all fell to the bottom of his pants.
  • Those little envelopes they pass out are for putting the money in. They make sad faces when they open the envelopes to find them empty.
  • Wait till the lion takes the money. Sometimes the lion will play around before actually taking it so you get a good show.
  • Don't smack the lions butt! Some lions have kids in there and well, you can imagine the kinds of legal issues that can come from doing that.
  • If you have a kid that really wants to feed the lion but the lion isn't looking at you, flag down someone not performing that is wearing the club shirt. They are usually willing to direct the lion to your child.
There you have it. Some insight into the world of lion dancing. Maybe one day I'll get Bee to actually write a post himself. He's the expert on it. I'm the girlfriend that comes along as support and a bag carrier.

Learn anything new? Let me know what you thought or if you'd like to know more!

Don't forget to enter my giveaway! It will be ending soon.


  1. Thanks for the info! I've seen lion dances at cultural festivals, but didn't know much about them.

  2. I went to Chinese New Year once when I was living in London. It was the most spectacular thing ever. I remember walking down one street where the lion was dancing and the performers around the lion were throwing oranges to everyone to feed the lion. It is nice to learn more about the traditions!

    1. That sounds like lots of fun! Yeah, Chinese culture is very big in Hawaii. Sometimes, during house blessings, they'll even leave drinks or shots for the lion. Then the lion has to play around the drinks like a puzzle before drinking it. Very fun!


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