Barongsai is a Chinese traditional dance using sarong in shape of a lion that is usually performed in the Chinese New Year celebration. Barongsai has been recorded in history for thousands years. The first record of this dance can be traced in the period of Chin Dynasty (3 B.C.) The art of Barongsai started to be popular in the period of South-North Dynasty (Nan Bei) in the 420-589 A.D. At that time, the Song Wen Di's troops were almost lose to fight against the 'war-elephant' of King Fan Yang from Lin Yi. King Song Wen Di's commander, named Zhong Que, tried to make a replica of lion to drive Fan Yang's troops out. It worked out, so that the lion doll became a legend."
Barongsai is estimated coming to Indonesia in the 17th century when there was a huge migration from South China. There are some versions about the mystical story of barongsai. The most famous one is the "Nian" version. According to this version, barongsai is first recognized in a period of Qing Dynasty. Once upon a time, there was a monster called Nian which always attacked people in a village, so that it caused a fear and terror. In the middle of the terror, showed up a lion (barongsai) to drive the monster out of the village. Finally, the monster was beaten and lost.
Nowadays, the Chinese ethnic in Indonesia believe that lion is a symbol of happiness and glory. The lion dance is believed to be able to bring fortune so that it is usually performed at certain important events such as a restaurant opening, a Chinese-temple launching, and of course at the Chinese New Year celebration in every Chinese community in Indonesia.