Monday, February 2, 2009
Dragon Parade Chinatown New York
Gung Hay Fat Choy!
I've been living here in Manhattan for nearly five years and I'm still discovering many of the sights and sounds on this schisty island. (I like to say that word.) This year for the first time I went to the Dragon Parade in Chinatown, and I took a few pictures that I thought you might like to see. 2009 is the year of the Ox. It was crowded, noisy, and so much fun!
I did a little research on the traditions of Chinese New Year. The celebration, which begins on New Year's Eve, features lavish dishes with symbolic meanings. A whole fish suggests abundance. Other seafood typically includes shrimp, signifying happiness, oysters for good business, and clams for the opening of new horizons.
Red and gold are the favorite colors for the Chinese New Year, symbolizing happiness and wealth. On New Year's Day, red is the preferred color of clothing as it is believed that it will bring the wearer a bright and sunny future. Red envelopes containing money (or chocolate coins wrapped in gold paper) are given for good luck.
I enjoyed watching the happy faces of the people at the parade and the people in the parade. It's clearly a joyous time for everyone involved, and I was thrilled to be a part of this ancient tradition. It was a potpourri of sensory stimuli: the snapping of firecrackers, colorful confetti flying into the air. happy people yelling Gung Hay Fat Choy! and Happy New Year!! and parade marchers handing dancing and tossing candy to children lining the streets.
I'd like to go back again next year if we're lucky enough to get another gloriously warm day like this year. Next time I'll go like an expert and bring a stepstool, though, so I can get even BETTER pictures for you!