The Lions Dance On

loading Lion dance troupes from Hong Guang and Loo Pun Hong practice in front of the temple.

The lion dance is usually performed on Chinese festive occasions to bring luck and drive away evil spirits, and during Chinese New Year, lorries ferrying lion dance troupes from house to house are common sight in Penang – it is, after all, home to more than a hundred such troupes.

Penang Monthly explores three such lion dance troupes in the state – each with its own history and style.

Master Woo Chan and his lion dance troupe at the Penang Grocers Association.

Penang Grocers Association

Having its roots in Chinese associations, Penang’s lion dances can be traced back to at least the 1930s – brought over by immigrants from southern China, where the southern lion style originates from. It was performed at first as a symbol of cultural identity and practised intensely in kongsis, especially those with Guangdong backgrounds such as Soon Tuck Wooi Kwon (顺德会馆).

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