Thanks to the 15 days long celebrations of Lunar New Year of the Pig I’m very lucky this year to have seen the start of it in London and the very last day in New York.
I’ve already described main aspects of the Spring festival in my previous blog: read there about zodiac animals, Nian the monster, fortune bringing symbols and there! This blog is more of a visual one – shall we start?
Lunar New Year is a pan-asiatic celebration but it so happened that Chinese celebrations are among the most spectacular ones. So no surprises that the main parade on the 17th of February took place in Chinatown, Manhattan although other celebrations were held in Queens, Brooklyn, and other parts of Manhattan as well.
As for the Chinatown, for about three hours the parade went through Mott and Canal Streets, East Broadway, Sara D. Roosevelt Park, Eldridge Street, and Forsyth Street. Everything was covered in confetti – it really made me worry about the environment.
Music and cheering of crowds filled all the neighbourhood.
Moving platforms, dragon and lion dancers, acrobats and martial arts performers, drummers were moving along the whole distance one by one.
We arrived closer to the epicentre of celebrations precisely 5 min before the parade kicked off and immediately got stuck in crowds circulating in adjacent streets – I must admit that London celebrations subjectively felt better organized, relatively more tranquil.
Of course, the main symbol of the New Year occupied the central place. Pigs were everywhere: balloon pigs, lantern pigs, sticker pigs, people in pig costumes…
But the most impressive for me were the massive gold necklaces featuring pigs in the Jewelry part of Chinatown. It reminded me straight away of Golden Souks of the Middle East!
Some stores were closed but you can still by some fresh food, traditional condiments and Chinese cuisine ingredients, and, of course, souvenirs and fortune bringing objects! Wishing Tree was installed for these who wanted to put their wish on its branches. Many restaurants were patiently waiting for their guests as well.
As for Chinatown in Manhattan itself, it’s a now densely populated area where Chinese immigrants lived since the 19th century. It’s an interesting area to explore on its own, with the statue of Lin Zexu, pagoda-shaped houses, multiple shops, restaurants, bubble tea cafes and many more exciting places!
And if you happen to be in NYC, you might consider popping into the Museum of the City of New York to see a photoexhibition Interior Lives: Contemporary Photographs of Chinese New Yorkers.
Hope, you enjoyed my today’s blog,