Elements of Intangible Cultural Heritage

    Dragon Dance





    Introduction:

    The dragon dance is a long-standing Chinese folk tradition. Passed down from generation to generation, it has grown into an important activity that the Chinese people perform during temple fairs and folk festivals to pray for safety and to add an air of auspiciousness and liveliness. Dragon dancers hold the head, tail and body of a dragon on bamboo poles. Dragons can reach up to dozens of meters and be supported and operated by  hundreds of people. While chasing a pearl to the beat of drums, dragon dancers change body movements and gestures to make a variety of moves and tricks, such as crossing, jumping, leaping, turning, rolling, playing, encircling and posing, to showcase the spirit, vitality, soul and charm of the dragon.

     

    Conservation Status:

    Macao’s dragon dance tradition has been carried forward by civil sports societies. Since the 1990s, the dragon dance has developed into a competitive sport event and is still a popular folk performance. Since the first Macao Dragon Dance Tournament in 2001, the dragon dance assumed a greater popularity as a characteristic sport event of Macao.

     

    Heritage Value:

    The dragon dance has remained one of the favorite traditional performances, most often seen in local folk festivals and celebrations. The appearance, structure and movements of the dragon reflect cultural values such as the worship of nature and expressions of good wishes, as well as the solidarity of the Chinese nation and its enterprising spirit. As an important practice of the extension of the traditional Chinese folk culture in Macao, it is of significant value for folk culture research. As it keeps evolving in its transmission and in the development that it has had in local communities, it also plays a crucial role in carrying forward the traditional Chinese culture in the international sports arena and promoting cultural exchange and dialogue, as one of Macao’s significant sport events.


     


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