A long time ago a small Vietnamese village was terrorized by a fierce and unusual creature that always appeared on New Year’s Eve. Frightened of the beast, villagers would confine themselves to their homes while the beast foraged through their fields and land. One year, the villagers were tired by the attacks and decided to retaliate by making their own version of a beast. Made up with bamboo and paper Mache to look like a brightly colored lion. As New Year’s Eve approached, two men maneuvered the man-made lion while other villagers followed. Making loud noises and beating on metal pots and pans to scare away the beast. All this commotion caused the beast to retreat back to the mountains, never to be seen again. The scene would be recreated by the villagers every New Year’s Eve in commemoration. This custom was later adopted by others and came to symbolize the cleansing of evil spirits lingering from the old year, bringing blessing and good fortune in the new year.
The lion dance is mostly seen and performed at the time of the Vietnamese New Years usually performed at houses and stores to bring in the good luck for the new year and with the drum and cymbals drive away evil spirits. Although it is performed throughout the year at many celebrations, holidays and festivals. In the Vietnamese tradition, the lion dance is essential to ensure harmony and prosperity.