Philadelphia Suns celebrate Year Of the Dog in Chinatown

Alex Lloyd Gross photo- Delaware Valley As firecrackers explode, lions dance around a merchants store.

By Alex Lloyd Gross

It was loud in Chinatown today, February 18, 2018. It was supposed to be. The louder the better.  It was the celebration of the Chinese New Year  and this is the Year Of the Dog.  It was celebrated with a lion dance  through the streets of center city. The celebration consists of multiple paper mache lions which members of the Philadelphia Suns Martial Arts club would control.  As  the lions would be escorted through the streets,  large crowds would gather  to film videos and take pictures.

Alex Lloyd Gross Photo- Delaware Valley As firecrackers explode. parade watchers hold their ears, while others take photos.

As certain merchants in Chinatown agreed to make a donation to the club, the lions would  stop and dance in front of the establishment, as strings of firecrackers were lit.  As the lions would navigate around the exploding firecrackers, others wearing pig masks would fan away evil spirits.   Those people are called “Evil Chasers”   This is not for the frail or infirm. You have to be quick and ready to hop and jump at a seconds notice.

At times, multiple strings of firecrackers would be lit, which would cause the area to be shrouded in thick,  smoke. The sound was deafening.  To save time, there were multiple lions marching down different streets. All had “Evil Chasers”. and men that would bang a large kettle drum. This was a photographers paradise.  It was interesting to see how many people came out with old film cameras and old movie cameras.

This event lasted  about four hours.There were multiple lions that were assigned to different areas of Chinatown. Each  had “Evil Chasers”  and were escorted by men banging a large kettle drum.  Traffic was detoured around the area.  With a multi alarm fire just a few blocks away, traffic in center city was, at times gridlocked.