– By Cristy Maldonado
In late January to early February, Boston’s Chinatown is full of performances and celebrations signifying the beginning of the Chinese New Year. This New Year, set for January 23rd, make sure to visit Chinatown for the Lion Dances, a traditional celebration that brings good luck and fortune to local businesses and amazing sights and sounds to those who watch.
- Location – The third largest Chinese community in the country, Boston’s Chinatown is located within the boundaries of Downtown Crossing, the South End and runs adjacent to the Theatre and Leather Districts. It is easily accessible via the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s Chinatown, Downtown Crossing, and Boylston Street T stops.
- Discover Your Sign – Similar to the Western zodiac, the Chinese zodiac has 12 signs, however each sign corresponds to animals instead of astrological symbols. Each animal possesses personality characteristics – does your animal accurately represent you? 2012 will be the year of the Dragon.
On the day of performances, local businesses will leave vegetables and fruit hanging from their doorways. Enticed by the food, the dragons in turn visit each business and perform dances offering wishes of good fortune for the New Year. Owners emerge thanking the dragons for their good tidings and offer small gifts and prizes. Kung Fu schools from the community perform the lion dances to showcase the martial arts skills of their students. Each group typically contains one dragon, with two artists controlling the dragon, musicians playing cymbals, drums, and a gong, and an escort dressed like a Buddha who throws firecrackers and encourages mischief.
Enjoy Dim Sum, Tea, and Other Delights
Last but not least, be sure to eat. There is no shortage of restaurants available for traditional New Year’s dishes such as dumplings, noodles, and smoked meat. Nearly every corner has a restaurant where you can enjoy a meal.
Cristy is a Boston-based blogger in constant pursuit of fun activities in the city. Read more of her work at http://bostonurbansafari.blogspot.com