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Chinatown new year parade

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With troops of colorful lion dancers, drums and cymbals, firecrackers, and great food, this is a special event you Chinatown new year parade want to miss! Boston's annual Chinese New Year Parade through the streets of Chinatown gives you a great opportunity to see traditional Lion Dances - and a perfect excuse to visit one of the neighborhood's wonderful restaurants. The parade date may be subject to last-minute changes if we get extreme weather conditions - so keep your plans flexible if possible.

The Chinatown parade usually but not always takes place on the second Sunday after the beginning of Chinese New Year.

Chinatown new year parade begins at 11am - or, if there are a lot of speeches, shortly after 11am - and finishes a few hours later. After the parade's initial procession around the neighborhood, lion dances take place simultaneously in multiple locations, going from business to business up and down all the streets, smaller lanes, and alleys.

Just follow the noise from the drums and firecrackers to find the action. There is no one "best" place to view the parade. Chinatown's civic and benevolent organizations and clubs sponsor local kung fu groups and dance troupes to perform the Lion Dances. If the weather is good - meaning no strong wind, or heavy rain or snow - the parade also includes dragon dances.

One controls head movements, and the other synchronizes the dance steps.

The day of the Lunar...

You'll typically see three major color combinations in the lion costumes: 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: 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.

Chinatown Parade The annual Lunar...

A pair of lions stops outside each door, and announces their presence. They inspect the food offered to them.

Chinatown Parade The annual Lunar...

When the restaurant owner comes to the door and "feeds" the lions, they bow three times in gratitude. 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. Finally, the Chinatown new year parade owner presents the lions with a red envelope traditionally containing moneywhich they pretend to eat.

This ensures good luck for the restaurant.

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