Valerie Sizhe Li
While spring in Boston is still a few weeks away, the Chinese Spring Festival Dragon Dance Parade on Feb. 9 brought warmth and happiness to The Hub.
Rebecca Fluhr, who was attending her first parade in the Chinatown neighborhood, said: “It reminds me of the carnival in my home country, Germany, where people all dress up in their costumes and march down the streets to party with their friends and family. It is nice to see how Boston supports our diverse communities with joy and appreciation.”
Shapa Kaviani, a tourist from Iran who accidentally wandered into the event, said, “I have never encountered such a festive parade in my life and I think it’s wonderful to see Chinese people celebrating their cultural new year happily.” said Shapa Kaviani, a tourist from Iran who accidentally bumped into the event.
“I also love the small markets along the streets that sell Chinese red lanterns and souvenirs. I’ve only seen those on TV. I think I will bring some for my grandchildren in Iran,” he said.
As usual, this year’s Chinese New Year dance parade took place on the second Sunday of the new lunar year. The crowds of dragons and lions started marching from the Chinatown Gate on Beach Street and wound through the narrow streets and alleyways of Chinatown. By passing each business in the neighborhood, it brings the businesses good luck in the upcoming year.
As part of the tradition, the business owners prepare cabbages and oranges at the front door. When the lions and dragons announce their arrivals at the door, the business owners come to the front and “feed” them in exchange of three bows of gratitude from the dragons and lions.
To finish the ceremony, the lions toss the cabbage in the air and make noise as loud as they can. In return, the business owners offer the dragon dancers a red envelope that often contains money.
The Dragon Dance Parade in Boston is known for being the third largest in the United States. It is a great opportunity for many Bostonians and people from different countries to observe the cultural diversity in Boston.
Tu Bao Nguyen, an Emerson College student from Vietnam, said, “Back home this is bigger holiday than the actual New Year, so we have more days off from school and work.”
“The atmosphere here is different. Everyone at home is celebrating it, and people here have no clue of what is going on except that there’s a party in Chinatown,” Nguyen said. “In Vietnam we decorate our houses and the streets weeks ahead of the Lunar New Year and it’s really pretty.”
This article is being published under an arrangement between the Boston Globe and Emerson College.