Seattle Lunar New Year 2024

In Chinese tradition, the cabbage represents wealth and prosperity. During Lunar New Year, it’s customary for the lion dancers to visit numerous local businesses to perform “cai qing,” which translates to “plucking the green.” Their rhythmic and acrobatic dance from business to business hunting for the prosperous cabbage, followed by a dragon, drums, firecrackers, and a crowd of people almost reminiscent of a fairy tale. The cabbage and its representation of wealth and prosperity are almost surreal, as Chinatown is seemingly sort of treated like a redheaded stepchild. CID (Chinatown International District) is arguably the most culturally dense neighborhood within Seattle, It’s met with economic struggles and a seemingly lack of care and nurturing from the city. Despite this, the neighborhood is still so visually and culturally rich and It’s really nice to see CID full of this burst of energy I felt during the Lunar New Year celebration.  

-Marcellus

At the heart of the Lunar New Year celebrations around Seattle is the Mak Fai Kung Fu and Lion Dance Club. This was my second year photographing them and I was left feeling very impressed by their skill and hard work. The people in this club are awesome and their kindness in letting themselves be photographed up close has left me feeling very grateful. I want to give them a special thank you. If you are interested in learning more about what they do, HERE is a link to their website.

The celebrations took place all around Seattle throughout the month of February. The biggest celebration happened during the last Saturday of the month in Seattle’s Chinatown.

The size of the crowds felt larger this year as compared to last year. The challenge (in my experience) with these types of events with such large crowds is in dissecting out small scenes that are photogenic. I’ve often found the best moments happen along the periphery of the main attraction

From a photographic perspective, this event was further development in my own personal practice of letting scenes and moments present themselves to me. My favorite photographs have always presented themselves to me as a little gift if I am paying attention.

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Authors

  • Marcellus Manier

    My name is Marcellus Bonow-Manier, and I’m a street and documentary photographer born, raised, and living in Seattle, WA. I find Seattle to be a very unique place to photograph; the grit, bleakness, and sometimes brutalist feel of the streets make for an interesting juxtaposition against the sometimes culturally sterile and technocratic nature of the city. I find the sense of chance, serendipity, and endless outcomes very fascinating when it comes to the street. While I’m very drawn to the absurd, high energy, serendipity, and balletic nature of the street, I find that sometimes the quietest moments can become the loudest once a photograph is made. My work is primarily focused on street; however, I’m also very interested in aesthetics and style. I’m starting a long-term project centered around fashion and street style which I’ll be delving into this year.

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  • Ryder Collins

    I am a photographer living in Seattle Washington that is in love with photographing those fleeting surprise moments. I have always been a people watcher, and when I picked up a camera for the first time my natural inclination was to go out on the street and photograph people. I've always been attracted to photographing the emotions of people and the oftentimes absurd nature of the human experience. At this point I am becoming most interested in visual storytelling through documentary style photography. My current work involves documenting the people of Seattle - how they live, find excitement and resiliency in this city that feels equal parts anxiety and hope.

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