Chinese New Year Adventure - Part 1 - the Lion Parade

This year I was incredibly lucky to go to Chinatown during Chinese New Year
with my student, Amanda, and her Mom, who is Chinese.  I've always wanted to visit Chinatown with a person who could explain what everything is to me because it's really like being in another country.

We got to Chinatown at  10:30 on a Sunday morning.  Here's a picture from the parking garage:

 On the right is the gateway to Chinatown, and on the left is a mural of the Chinese countryside.

When we got there, all the troupes were getting ready.  Each troupe trains together in martial arts during the year.  At Chinese New Year, they march in the Lion Parade.  The lion needs two people - one for the front and one for the back.  Each troupe has people who march along and others who play the drums and cymbals.  They also light firecrackers to scare away the evil spirits from the year before.  Here's some men getting into the lion:

How do your like these stylish pants?

Check out this variety of lions!

This is my personal favorite:

I call this one "the pretty lion."  Check out the guy inside the costume:

 Here's the one and only dragon.  The one and only women troupe is in charge of the dragon:

This is the line of dragons waiting patiently while the Mayor of Boston and other politicians speak before the parade.

After the speeches, the different troupes parade around Chinatown and visit various shops and restaurants.  Each place puts out leisses (red envelopes with money), oranges and cabbage to welcome the lion:

Eventually, the lions arrive at the business:

When the lion comes inside, there is A LOT of noise from the lion, the drums and the firecrackers.  The lion takes the leisse and throws the oranges and cabbage around the store.  

Here's a restaurant where the lion got its treat at the door:

See that guy holding the spear to the left of the lion?  That's Amanda's mom's cousin, and his job is to protect the lion.

Overall, it was such an AMAZING ADVENTURE!  I learned so much, and there's probably so much more to learn.  If you have any questions about any of these pictures, please let me know, and I'll try my best to answer.

If it weren't snowing so much right now, I would be tempted to go get some Chinese food for myself.

Happy Chinese New Year!  It's the year of the Horse!

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