The lion dance is introduced to the Southeast Asia countries by the Chinese migrants, which was practiced in Singapore for a century. The significance of lion dance is a traditional performance to exorcise demons from houses, and to bring fortune and happiness into the home. Till today, the lion dance is well-practiced which plays a significant role in preserving Chinese traditional culture. The introduction of lion dance into Singapore was much earlier than the dragon dance. But this is only for the southern form of lion dance which is also known as the southern lion. Another type of lion which is from the northern part of China is introduced to Singapore in the 1930s.
The Southern lion dance originates from the coastal provinces of Guangdong and Fujian. Lion dance that originates from Guangdong are Foshan Lion, Heshan Lion, Hakka Lion and Hainan Lion while from Fujian, only the Green Lion originates from there. According to historical data, Foshan Lion was first to be introduced to Southeast Asia followed by Heshan Lion, Hakka Lion, Hainan Lion and Fujian Green Lion. In the world of lion dance, Foshan Lion and Heshan Lion are known ‘Foshan Zhuang’ and ‘Heshan Zhuang’ respectively.
In 2004, Singapore National Wushu Federation commissioned the design of the Singapore Lion with local multi-culture features. The Singapore Lion was modeled with reference to the two stone lions that were placed on the side of Nicoll highway in the early years; the colour used is the same as the national flag-red. The concept of a Singapore Lion was first suggested by Mr Goh Chok Tong, Prime Minister of Singapore, when he officiated the opening ceremony of the new Singapore National Wushu Federation premise in 2003.