By Joey Huang

In Photos: Lunar New Year Parade in Boston's Chinatown

On Sunday, Jan. 29, thousands attended the Lunar New Year Parade through the streets of Chinatown to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit. The annual parade is hosted by the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association of New England, and this year’s festivities featured eight Boston-area lion dance troupes.
By Joey Huang

At around 9:30 a.m., performers from the Boston Chinese Free Masons Athletic Club started shuffling outside the martial arts center in preparation for the parade.

Models of traditional Chinese weapons including the Dao, or broadsword, and Shuangshou Ji, or double-handed halberd, are often used during lion dance performances.

The parade began at the intersection of Beech St. and Harrison Ave. Each of the eight lion dance troupes performed in front of the crowd, then filed out in different directions to perform at each storefront in Chinatown.

The color of the lions signify their age and character: imperial yellow lions, or lau pei lions, are considered the eldest and represent liveliness and wisdom.

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu ’07 delivered an address to the crowd, wishing everyone a prosperous Lunar New Year and encouraging spectators to visit local shops and restaurants after the parade.

During the performances, lions gobbled up and spit out heads of lettuce and accepted red envelopes. This practice of cai qing — plucking the greens — is thought to bring good luck and fortune.

Child lion dancers — who performed alongside older dancers — were donned in red or black lion costumes, which signify the youthful and more combative lion cubs.

During the parade, many spectators lined up in front of local eateries, including the Ho Yuen Bakery.

The lion dance troupes stopped in front of each store in Chinatown, bowing three times for respect and then entering the store to metaphorically bring good luck and business in the new year.

From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Boston’s Chinatown neighborhood was filled with a cacophony of drums, firecrackers, dancing, and good spirits.

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