The Lung Ying Academy have been performing Lion Dances for decades. The only professional team in Ireland, we have performed for city councils and arenas in every county. We have also helped add that extra special touch to weddings, both here at the temple and various venues around the country.
The team consists of two lion dancers and approx 4 live musicians.
What does the Lion Dance mean?
The Chinese Southern dance is symbolic. It is usually performed as a ceremony to scare away evil spirits and to summon luck and fortune.
The Chinese southern lion exhibits a wide variety of colour and has a distinctive head with large eyes, a mirror on the forehead, and a single horn at center of the head. Lion dance costumes are considered to be spiritually protective, as they are traditionally blessed before use.
Legend Of The Lion Dance
The story goes that once upon a time the Emperor had a dream in which there were many sorrows
and evils plaguing the land. The Emperor prayed and asked the gods how he could prevent these evils
from occurring. The gods told him that a lion would protect them and fight back the evils. The Chinese
people had never see a lion before, but had heard stories that the lion was the king of all the other animals,
so the monk combined all the lucky or magical animals he could think of and so made a lion.
If you look closely at any lion, you can see a red sash tied on its horn. It is told that the lion got too arrogant and told the gods that he was more powerful than all of them combined. This of course caused the gods to get very angry, so as a punishment they chopped off his horn (the source of his power) and told him to fight off a thousand evils without his power.
The lion of course couldn't and people were dying because the lion couldn't protect them from the evils. The goddess of mercy (Guan Yin) felt bad for him so she tied his horn back on with a red sash.
Another origin of the Lion Dance is that “Nian” a fierce monster that liked to kidnap children, terrorized villages year after year. Finally, one year, a lion defeated and chased the monster away. Nian vowed to return next year. This time the villagers did not have a lion to protect themselves. So, they solved the problem by creating a costume likeness of a lion and two villagers used it to scare Nian away. This is the reason the lion dance is performed every Chinese New Year.