China Town Date: February 2  NOTE DAY CHANGE
Time: 10:30
Carpool: 9:30 Stop and Shop Pembroke
Price:  free
Trip Leader: Karen Obillo (Click to Email)


Lion Dance Parade

Held in honor of the Lunar New Year, Boston’s Chinese New Year Parade marks the largest annual celebration within Boston’s Chinatown, home to the 3rd largest Chinese community in the U.S. It usually takes place on the 2nd Sunday after the beginning of Chinese New Year; following Saturday, January 25, 2020.

Boston has the third largest Chinese community in the U.S., and the Chinese Near Year celebration here is one of the biggest in the Northeast. Thousands of visitors flock to Boston's Chinatown and Theater District to view lion dancers, accompanied by drums, cymbals, and firecrackers. It's also a chance to try other great food besides Chinese food.

The major highlight of the celebration is Boston's annual Chinese New Year Parade that takes place in Chinatown. It usually takes place on the second Sunday at about 11 am, right after the beginning of Chinese New Year. The route goes around Kneeland Street, Essex Street, and Harrison Ave. Usually, the parade includes a dragon dance, and there are also a couple of "lions," a Buddha, and music bands with gongs and drums to set the rhythm. Smaller Lion dances occur during and after the parade in multiple locations. Performers are going through local businesses in Chinatown collecting red envelopes with cash. Restaurant owners also place offerings—cabbages and oranges—in front of the door for the dancers.

The elaborate lion costumes, hand-made in China or Taiwan, conceal 2 dancers.  One controls head movements, and the other synchronizes the dance steps. You'll typically see three major color combinations in the lion costumes:  yellow, symbolizing wisdom, red and black (courage), and green and black (fierceness).  Most of the lion costumes in Boston's Chinese New Year Parade reflect the style of Southern Lions from Guangdong Province in Southern China, home of the Cantonese people who first settled (by way of California) in Boston in the mid-1870s.  If you observe the different lion pairs, you'll notice that each group has its own dance routine.  The dance is choreographed to express a number of different emotions: joy, curiosity, respect, anger, contentment, playfulness.  The clown may play with the lions as part of the routine.  Owners of Chinatown's restaurants, bakeries, tea shops, and other businesses place offerings - usually cabbages and oranges - on a small table or chair in front of the door.  The lions (sometimes with help from their attendants) then toss the oranges into the air.  Whoever catches them will have especially good luck throughout the year.  Next, the lions throw cabbages to the ground with enough force to smash them, which symbolizes spreading good fortune among the crowd.

Parking can be hard to find in Boston, so the MBTA might be an option for this event


Please email the trip leader if you plan to attend.