Philadelphia Suns Bring Out Lions In Chinatown

by Alex Lloyd Gross

February 6 2022

If you were in center city today, from 10:45 AM until about 3:00 PM,  you might have heard a commotion in Chinatown.  Lions were dancing in the streets.  Not live ones, but paper machete elaborate lions that belong to the Philadelphia Suns.  They are a martial arts club and  bring several lions throughout the area to help residents and business owners ring in the new year. It’s the Year Of the Tiger.

Alex Lloyd Gross Photo-Delaware Valley The drum beat keeps the lions dancing


Not all residents participate.  In order to have lions stop at your door, there must be a donation to the club. The Suns know that with COVID, some businesses are struggling, some are hanging on by a thread.  When the lions and Evil Chasers in pig masks stop at your place, you light firecrackers, to which members of the club jump and dance around them, while a drum beats . It is expensive.







However, the club will make a stop at the local firehouse, Engine 20, names the House of Dragons for free..  The event is a photographers paradise. from complex digital SLR equipment, to large format film cameras and everything in between. You cannot get a bad photo if you point the camera at something and shoot.  A toy Diana camera with a plastic lens is a great camera to use  for this event. With this camera, you can make multiple exposures by simply not winding  the film forward.

Alex Lloyd Gross An Evil Chaser at work, while lions fight over lettuces behind him.

Police close off Chinatown for a few hours, as the crowds gather in the streets and stand on anything to get a good vantage point to see.  This happens every year.  The Philadelphia Suns will show off their Lion Dancing at different stops in the region, like the King of Prussia Mall and the Reading Terminal Market.

Alex Lloyd Gross Photo-Delaware Valley An Evil chaser poses for the camra

If you attend a lion dance in Chinatown, you will want to bring earplugs, as the firecrackers are loud.  Safety goggles as some of the firecrackers fly when they explode and a face mask. The facemask is not for COVID but when the strings of firecrackers explode the area will be engulfed in smoke for up to a minute, The smoke is so thick you will not be able to see the person next to you.