Lion Dance Parade: Chinatown, Philly

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Oh, Chinatown. Your hustle and bustle, your traffic, your stench, your Japanese karaoke bar…only one of these things would bring me to see you.

Unless it’s Chinese New Year. Then, I’ll come visit to see the action and celebrate the Year of the Rabbit.

Today was the Lion Dance Parade throughout the streets of Philly’s Chinatown, the third largest in the US.

Lions (I thought they were dragons at first) roam Arch, 11th, Race, and 10th streets. Crowds were blocking traffic, bumping into each other, and/or holding their ears and nose.

Each lion seeks out vegetables hanging over the streets (the lions are vegetarians) and along with the veg, hangs long strands of firecrackers. Once the firecrackers are lit, the lions sway their heads back and forth along with the massive pops of explosives and sounds of cymbals, finishing off each visit devouring the swaying lettuce.

Video Credit

The Lion in Chinese tradition represents good luck and each store attempts to lure the lions to the front doors of their businesses and into the buildings, themselves.  The Lion Dance is a part of Chinese culture, where the lion represents the holy and sacred, and is the bringer of good fortune. Many of its basic movements have been incorporated into Chinese martial arts.

Reference Credit


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