Like Kuda kepang dance, Barongan has strong elements of trance and totemic worship. The Barongan is said to depict the dance of a hybrid (or mystical multifaceted) creature of diverse origins.

There are varieties of Barongan, one of which combines the features of a tiger and a peacock that were said to dance on the back of the Prophet Solomon.

Then Ganung, a lady-in-waiting joined them and the Barongan dance was created. According to another tale, there was a man who often amused himself by teasing fairies.

The fairies became so angry with him that they turned him into a Barongan creature. He was also cursed to forever follow the Kuda Kepang. This is perhaps the reason a Kuda Kepang performance often followed by a Barongan performance.

Performed by Malays of Javanese origin, the Barongan is largely limited to the Batu Pahat district of Johor, although the 'dragon-headed' Barongan may also be found in Muar.

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