I haven’t performed lion dance for quite a while already, but decided to join the Immortals as they took part in the 114th Golden Dragon Parade on Saturday. It’s quite amazing to know that this annual parade started before the 1900’s!
In the past, I’ve lion danced for the San Francisco Chinese New Year parade three times and had quite a bit of fun. But for the Golden Dragon Parade, I had one complaint – the searing heat dehydrated me very quickly! The SF parade happens at night when it’s the coolest, while the LA one happens during the daytime when it’s the hottest. Either way, it was still fun!
My friend picked me up early in the morning to head to the Immortals “headquarters”, where a big Budget truck was waiting with all the parade equipment inside. After most of the people arrived, we started heading to the parade location. I immediately felt the heat when I walked outside!
Lots of people started showing up. I think there were at least 100 people there to help out with the parade! Even UCLA ACA showed up to help out.
Look at all those people!
UCLA ACA Lion Dance
Unloading and assembling the equipment probably took over an hour. Lions, dragons, banners, flags, lanterns, everything!
Lions waiting for the parade
One of the dragons for the parade
The dragon was the longest I’ve ever seen. I think something like 20 or more people were needed to walk the dragon through the parade.
Look at the length of that thing!
Before the actual parade though, there was an opening performance at the carnival nearby.
Getting ready for the opening carnival performance
There, I even got to take a picture with someone famous! Anyone recognize him? He’s an older member of the Immortals.
After the carnival performance, we ate some food and waited for the actual parade to start. Some of the younger performers warmed up the instruments with some energetic music.
Warming up the instruments
We started walking to where the parade starts.
Waiting at the start of the parade
So many flags and banners!
And so the parade started. Two miles of walking and lion dancing in the searing heat drained me pretty quickly. While going through the parade, there was this historical society that set up lettuce and red envelopes for the lions. All the lions quickly gathered around and gave a mini-show right on the spot!
Mini show for the historical society
The parade ended soon after that, but that wasn’t it! We went around several shops in Chinatown to help bless their businesses. After that, we took a break at the Immortals headquarters before heading to two more shows. The two shows were actually around the same time, so the teams were split into two groups. I followed the group that performed for a high school reunion at the Hilton Hotel. The hotel was in a plaza, so the teams blessed some businesses before the show started.
After the performances, the team went to eat a pretty grand dinner. Too bad I forgot to take some pictures! I was actually dead tired and couldn’t eat much. At that point, I just wanted to take a shower and go to sleep.
And to end it, let me show you the battle scars! The top blister was from drumming and the bottom blister was from lion dancing. It’s actually not bad at all. I’ve seen a lot worse! I remember seeing someone with an entire finger’s worth of skin scraped off after the parade.
Battle scars for the day
Happy Chinese New Year everyone!