Chinatown's Annual Lion Dance Parade

This past Sunday, the streets of Boston’s Chinatown were filled with drummers, music, martial artists, street vendors, and dancing lions. Crowds of locals and tourists gathered downtown to take part in the Lion Dance Parade.

As a continuation of Chinese New Year celebrations, the Lion Dance Parade is a festival that dates back thousands of years and is an annual tradition in Boston’s Chinatown.

Lion costumes, operated by two dancers, dance through the streets of Chinatown followed by a parade float carrying drums and cymbals.
Local businesses leave lettuce and oranges outside of their shops hoping to attract the lion dancers.

At each shop with a food offering, the dancers perform a dance called “cai qing” and light off firecrackers. The dance is meant to bring luck and fortune to the store owners in the New Year. "The symbolism is really interesting. You can see how the shop keepers are really excited about getting their shops blessed" said Charlotte Kramer from Middleborough.

The parade is also meant as a way to celebrate the food, music, and culture of China. Street vendors selling trinkets and traditional Chinese food and desserts attracted children and adults alike.

This year was Peter Martin's first time at the parade. He said, “this experience is interesting. The smell of food and explosions all at the same time is kind of strange. It’s fun though!”

The Oom Yung Doe martial arts school also performed for onlookers.

The celebration lasted all day. Neither the snow nor Sunday's imminent blizzard warning could slow down the festivities.

Created By
Emily Boerger
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Photos by Emily Boerger

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