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Sketched Feb. 8, 2016

The Lunar New Year is bringing me good sketching luck.

As soon as I arrived at Chinatown International District early this afternoon, I ran into a team of lion dancers from Mak Fai Washington Kung Fu Club.

They were coming down South Jackson Street between Maynard Avenue South and Sixth Avenue South, just by the Bush Hotel residential building. There I watched them dance in front of a Chinese supermarket and a dim sum restaurant.

What a colorful spectacle. The dancers moved to the beat of drums and cymbals as firecrackers went off. The entourage included a masked Buddha who chases the lions and teases them with a fan. In all, there were more than 15 performers dressed in black pants and green shirts. Those who were not disguised as lions or playing a percussion instrument were holding green flags.

A crowd quickly formed and I hurried to make lines on my sketchbook as everyone around me documented the moment with their smartphones. At the end of the performance, the lions held up banners wishing fortune and prosperity.

If you want to immerse yourself in the spirit of the Lunar New Year, a neighborhood celebration is planned for Saturday, Feb. 13, at Hing Hay Park, which is just around the corner from this location.

I was excited to stumble upon this particular group of lion dancers because I happened to visit Mak Fai’s Kung Fu school years ago. Here’s a link where you can see the sketches I made then.