Dancing With the Lions: Lion Blessing

Hello, my name is Ricky! This is my first post. I’ve been dancing with the lions for about two and a half years, and I belong to the Hung Sing troupe and have done plenty of performances. There have been many different legends of how lion dancing came to be, but my sifu taught me that the lion wakes from a deep slumber and then roars. The lion steps out of his cave and is immediately hungry. To get to his food, the lion is met with crucibles such as a river or a snake. The lion approaches these situations with caution and tons of testing.

In this slideshow, we blessed the new lions. It is customary to bless the lions before using them in practices or in performances. This blessing of the new lions gives the troupe good luck and prosperity. The way the routine for blessing the lion goes is that the elder (sigong, the man in yellow outfit) ties a bow, a ribbon, and two feathers to the horn of the lions. The elder then makes a red mixture used to “paint” the lions and bring the lions to life. After the painting of the lions, the lions do a wake up routine and a number of three bow routines. In this case, the lions bow three times to each alter (2 alters) and another three bows to the elder.

Sifu: a title for and role of a skillful person or a master.

Sigong: a sifu’s master.

Wake Up Routine: lion wakes from a slumber and scratches eyes, ears, nose, and beard respectively.

Three Bow Routine: lion bows to a certain group, person, or alter in the direction of left, right, and center respectively.