The lion dance

The lion dance

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This photograph is part of the collection entitled ‘Celebrations’.

In the early 19th century, many newly immigrated Chinese in Singapore suffered from poverty and loneliness. To combat this, immigrants from the same region or sharing the same surname pooled their resources to help new arrivals. These groups eventually became institutionalised clans. Clans were instrumental in the development of Singaporean society, but as the city-state modernized their role was redefined. Today, they mainly serve to promote Chinese culture in Singapore. Here, we see the set up in preparation for a Lion Dance at the entrance of a Clan House, a traditional acrobatic dance performed to the sound of percussions, around the period of Chinese New Year to ward off evil in the coming year.

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