Chinese southern lion dances are designed for entertaining the general public rather than the emperor. Residents in the southern areas honour the lions as the guardians of their villages.
Being able to invite a lion dance team to perform at private ceremonies was considered a representation of high social status, as they were quite expensive to hire. However, during Chinese New Year celebrations and other public celebratory events, the teams will perform for the villages for free to bring luck to the people. In return, the people give lucky money pockets to the lions filled with what they can afford as an offering to the lions.