A sign of good luck, Hainan’s tiger dance is yet another symbol of the island’s cultural traditions. Something you won’t want to miss on your visit to Haikou. In 2009, it joined the Hainan Provincial Intangible Cultural Heritage list.
Some people believe this dance came to life during the Ming Dynasty while others put its roots around 300 years ago, when the village of Lo Wu was under the rule of local leader and hero Madame Xian. Back then, every time a militia was about to leave home for an expedition there would be a tiger dance.
That is not the case anymore, but the tradition still lives on, alongside others like the lion and dragon dances you are probably already familiar with.
These days, the tiger dance is mostly performed during Chinese New Year Festival celebrations or while Haikou receives the Cultural Festival in Memory of Madame Xian. The peak of performances happens at the annual “Junpo” festival, on the second lunar month. So, if you would like to see a performance, live and in colour, make sure you head to Haikou at these times.
With a different style and unique drums, whenever there is a celebration, the tiger dance invites everybody to embrace the symbolic animal, the good luck it brings, the courage and energy it represents.
Combining music, dance and martial arts, this dance also has a wider purpose: praying for a good harvest and the safety of people and animals, alongside the prosperity of businesses.
Popular in the surrounding countryside of Sanjiang Town, Meilan District in Haikou