Monday, March 2, 2015

Celebrating the Year of the Goat

Tess and I went to Chinatown area yesterday to watch the Chinese Parade that is held one week after the Chinese New Year. The procession started with a banner and boys walking with colorful flags.
They were followed by 3 dragons going from shop to shop and dancing. The dragons were followed by a motor-powered cart carrying the instrument players.  The purpose of the parade is to bless shops good luck for the coming year. The dragons would dance in front of each shop and sometimes even go in. Then firecrackers were burst in front of the shop and the dragons would move to the next one. I also saw a man wearing a costume although I couldn't understand his role.

To understand the ceremony better, I read up about it online. It was an interesting read. When the dragons visit a shop, the shopkeepers offer dragons oranges and a cabbage to consume to please them. The dragons accept the offerings, smash the cabbage in front of the shop to bring good luck for the shop and throw the oranges in the crowd. Whoever catches an orange is said to have a lucky year ahead. The firecrackers are meant to chase the bad spirits away.

The dragons also climbed on top of each other in the middle of the road. Small children gathered around them to watch the spectacle. It was a refreshing experience to see tradition in the midst of urbanness.

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