LOS ANGELES, CA – The rain did not stop people from celebrating the eve of the Lunar New Year in front of the Thien Hau Temple in Chinatown.

  • Lunar New Year is a 15-day celebration
  • Immortals Awaken Lion Dance Troupe honoring Year of the Pig
  • There are many tales on the origin of the Lion Dance

The Lion, a symbol of power and wisdom, danced as 500,000 firecrackers went off, to bring good fortune on the Year of the Pig. 

“I feel such adrenaline and such joy. Most girls are afraid of doing the firecracker dance because you know the smoke is up in your face it can be very harsh, very loud and hard to breathe. But I feel like this strength and empowerment that I can’t get anywhere else,” said Amie Truong.

Truong has been part of the Immortals Awaken Lion Dance Troupe for eight years. This group has been around since 1960s. They practice year-round, but to them the Lunar New Year is the important.

“There’s nothing that makes me happy than seeing such joy all around me.  Just being inside the lion and seeing all the smiles, the laughter you can bring to people really makes me feel whole,” said Truong.

There are many tales on the origin of the Lion Dance. One of the tales begins long ago, on the eve of the Lunar New Year, when a beast appeared to destroy a small village.  

Villagers assembled a figurine out of bamboo and cloth - identical to the beast. They pounded a drum, a gong, and symbols to mimic the beast and they were able to chase it away to defend their village. 

“I feel humbled in the presence of such great team. As a drummer I carry the heartbeat of the lion. It’s a big responsibility,” said Kyle Kip, Truong's teammate. 

A responsibility that extends to keeping this tradition alive, not only for the many Chinese that live in Los Angeles, but the many other Asians that celebrate the Lunar New Year. The 15-day celebration includes spending time with family, visiting the temple and honoring ancestors. 

Truong and her teammates will be performed at the 120th Annual Golden Dragon Parade in Chinatown on Saturday.

The team says their goal is “to bring happiness to other people, wish good luck, good fortune.”

You can visit Immortal Awaken Dance Troupe here