The lion dance troupe prepares for the return of the Chinese New Year parade in San Francisco

HERCULES, Calif. (KGO) — Preparations for the Feb. 1 Lunar New Year of the Tiger were in full swing at Hercules in front of the Yee Martial Arts Academy. There, the West Coast Lion Dance Troupe held a ceremony they haven’t been able to do in some time.

“This is a traditional eye point ceremony where we bring the lion and this year we have a dragon that we bring to life.” Said Anthony Shiu, the troupe’s founder said.

The troupe has performed at San Francisco’s Chinese New Year Parade every year since 1988. After COVID canceled last year’s parade, they are coming back to life with the parade, which will be held on February 19.

ABC7 News anchor Dion Lim had the honor of “waking up” one of the two lions on Saturday.

At the event, there was also a dragon that holds special significance. Shiu named it after Jasper Wu, the little boy who was shot and killed on I-880 in Oakland last November. Under the eyes of his grandmother and grandfather, Jasper dotted the eyes of the dragon Jasper. Community members also burned incense and paid their respects.
RELATED: Family Holds Funeral for Jasper Wu, Toddler Killed in Oakland I-880 Shooting

Anthony Shiu says the lion dance and these traditions run in his blood.

“I’ve always wanted to do it since I was little… I only started doing it in high school. Even though I’m 60, I still play and today I will play a little.”

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