Philly welcomes Year of the Pig with lions, fireworks

Josh Millman takes a selfie with one of the cavorting lions dancing on Cherry Street in Chinatown. Millman and hundreds of others came to Chinatown late Monday evening to welcome the Year of the Pig.

Josh Millman takes a selfie with one of the cavorting lions dancing on Cherry Street in Chinatown. Millman and hundreds of others came to Chinatown late Monday evening to welcome the Year of the Pig. (Jonathan Wilson for WHYY)

Hundreds filled the streets in the heart of Philadelphia’s Chinatown Monday night to celebrate the lunar new year and welcome the Year of the Pig.

The celebration featured the Lion Dance performed by the Philadelphia Suns youth group and members of Cheung’s Hung Gar Kung Fu Academy.

Shari Bolar joins the dancing lions celebrating the New Year on Cherry Street in Chinatown. (Jonathan Wilson for WHYY)
Mason Cohen drags a string of exploding firecrackers down 10th Street in Chinatown during the celebration. (Jonathan Wilson for WHYY)
Members of the Philadelphia Suns perform the Lion Dance in front of businesses along Race Street in Chinatown. (Jonathan Wilson for WHYY)
A member of the Philadelphia Suns lights a long string of firecrackers at the start of a Lion Dance on Race Street. The Philadelphia Suns youth group was founded in 1972 to promote athletic, cultural and educational opportunities for young people. (Jonathan Wilson for WHYY)
Philadelphia Suns percussionists provide the beat for the Lion Dances throughout Chinatown to welcome the lunar New Year. (Jonathan Wilson for WHYY)

According to Chinese tradition, the Lion Dance is performed to bring good fortune and drive away evil spirits. During Chinese New Year, lion dancers visit businesses to compete for lettuce hanging from the fronts of buildings. Business owners sometimes give the lions play money, hoping it will bring good luck in the coming year.

Hundreds gather in Chinatown to welcome the Chinese New Year. (Jonathan Wilson for WHYY)
Members of the Philadelphia Suns carry banners leading the Lion Dancers through the streets. (Jonathan Wilson for WHYY)
Fireworks explode at midnight over Chinatown to celebrate the beginning of the Year of the Pig. (Jonathan Wilson for WHYY)
A woman blows a kiss to one of the lions dancing on Race Street during the Chinese New Year celebration. (Jonathan Wilson for WHYY)
After the fireworks, a man leads the crowd in a cheer for the Philadelphia Eagles as the celebration winds down. (Jonathan Wilson for WHYY)

There will be another opportunity to see the Philadelphia Suns’ Lion Dance Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 10th and Race streets.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.