Lions play an important role in Chinese mythology, and represent joy and happiness. Lion dances are performed accompanied by the music of beating of drums, cymbals, and gongs instruments synchronise to the lion dance movements and actions. People perform lion dance to bring luck and to get rid of the devil. This tradition can be traced back to a story that took place long ago.


       During the rule of the legendary "Huang Di" ("Yellow Emperor"), a monster called "Nien" appeared in China, attacking people and the animals. It was so fast and fierce that neither dogs nor tigers could beat it. In despair, the people asked the lion for help. The lion bravely rushed towards the monster and wounded it. The "Nien" fled, but declared to come back to take revenge.A year later, the "Nien" returned. Without the lion's protection this time, the people produced a "lion" out of bamboo and cloth. Two men crawled inside and approached the "Nien". The "lion" pranced and roared, driving the monster away again. From then on, lion dances have become a yearly tradition to frighten evil away and bring luck and happiness during the Chinese New Year. Now lion dance is also usually performed at many other important grand occasions, including Chinese traditional, cultural and religious festivals, business opening events, birthday celebrations, honour guest welcoming and wedding ceremonies by the Chinese communities.
Northern Lion   Southern Lion
       Lion dance has two different styles: Northern Lion and Southern Lion. The Chinese Northern Lion Dances are usually performed appear in pairs in North China. Northern Lions have shaggy orange and yellow hair with a red bow on its head to indicate a male lion, or a green bow to represent a female. During a performance, Northern Lions movements are very lifelike. Acrobatics are very common, with stunts like lifts or balancing on a giant ball. The Southern Lion is not quite lifelike as the Northern one, displayed more power during the performance. Performers usually use different kind of dance steps to show the temperament of lion. And there are three types of Southern Lion: the golden lion, representing liveliness; the red lion, representing courage; and the green lion, representing friendship.
       Now lion dance has spread across the world to countries in the Americas, Africa, Europe, Asia, Pacific and the Caribbean region in particular, through the local Chinese immigrants and communities.
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