Lunar New Year Parade Welcomes the Earth Dog

People dressed as lions eat cabbage during the Chinatown Lion Dance Parade. Photo courtesy of Jianxiong Zhu.

Yanxuan Li
BU News Service

Boston – The Lunar New Year celebration last week continued into the weekend, culminating in a lion dance parade in the streets of Chinatown.

The festivities kicked off at 10 a.m. and continued through the afternoon. Ten lion dance troupes started their performances at a main stage in Chinatown’s Phillips Square.

After the performance, the parade troupes went through the historical downtown neighborhood, paying a visit to each store that had a basket of cabbage at the entrance.

The storekeepers put the cabbage out to “feed the lion” which, according to the customs in some rural areas in China, will satisfy the animal enough to make it will guard the store and bring them good luck for another year.

The Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association of New England, the annual host of the parade, posted on social media throughout the day, alerting the public of where to find activities and the lions themselves.

“Looking for a lion?” the Association wrote in a Facebook post. “Listen for the drums of one of our ten performance troupes parading throughout Chinatown.”

In order to thank the lion dancers, some storekeepers also gave them tips or gifts in red packets for luck.

Linda Zhou, a resident of Chinatown for ten years, said she has gone to see the parade almost every year.

“It’s a way to remind me of my life in my hometown,” Zhou said. “I’m from Guangzhou in southern China. They always had lion dance troupes that paid New Year visits to every household. It’ll bring good luck.”

Kuangyan Wang said she had come to visit her cousin in Boston and stumbled into the parade. She commented on the cold rain which fell all day, limiting the number of spectators.

“It’s cool,” Wang said, “I think it’ll perhaps be more impressive when the weather’s better.”

The Boston parade was held at the same time as similar celebrations in New York, Pittsburg and San Francisco, bringing in over 4,000 people nationwide.

In Boston’s Chinatown, those who wanted shelter from the rain could also go to the indoor Cultural Village at 90 Tyler Street where several activities were being held.

The indoor activities include martial arts performances, Chinese calligraphy and various hands-on arts and crafts.

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