February 17, 2013

It snowed early this morning, such a brief flurry that I almost thought it was a mirage. Then the sky turned gun metal grey, the temperature dropped and a snappy wind hit the streets. But no matter what the weather, today the dragons are coming to China Town. 

The Lunar New Year celebration is still going on even though the actual New Year started last week. The color red, a color that represents good fortune, is displayed everywhere in China Town. The vendors sell long strands of fake firecrackers, a symbolic object that is supposed to chase evil spirits from the home.

Local Thai Chi and Martial Arts programs block off a street for their students to display their abilities. This guy was a real jumping jack with his three-pronged weapon, serious and determined he put on a very good show.

Women also performed. This woman wielded a long sharp sword with great ease. She ran and jumped and put on a show that kept the audience riveted.

Farther up the street and down an alley, a long golden snake dragon made its presence known in the doorways of the merchants. It was bringing blessings and good fortune to the China Town businesses. If the shop was large enough the snake slithered through the door, moving amongst the patrons and then the puppet creature slithered back out onto the street again. As you can see, the snake is managed by nearly a dozen men and the men are all energetic and having a great time.

In this photo the dragon has just come out of one of my favorite restaurants, Peking Duck House. The snake curled around its self and poked up its head, looking quite pleased while displaying power and grace. This golden puppet looked triumphant and I wondered if it had taken a taste of the succulent Peking Duck before slithering back on to the street?

This lady banged on a gong and followed the golden snake wherever it went. There were also lots of large kettle drums wherever there was a dragon.

There were also fluffy looking dragons gyrating along the streets, dancing, keeping beat with the drummers and thgonging that accompanied them. This orange dragon marched up one street entering the stores, as all the other dragons did, blessing the shop keepers and wishing them all good fortune in the coming year.

The furry dragons were carried by young energetic fellows who wiggled the heads and bowed respectively to the merchants. But they certainly had a menacing attitude.

This dragon caught my eye.

And he caught the eye of another photographer, too. Now smile!!!

Here is a photo of the young man who manipulated this furry dragon. He made the puppet dance and shimmy block after block, never seeming to tire. He stopped at all the shop doorways bowing and respectfully greeting the merchants in the Chinese New Year tradition, on this year of the Snake.

The sky cleared a bit, some blue began to show through the dark grey but my hands were freezing. I stopped at a restaurant and ordered to go, steamed pork buns, a double order of shrimp dumplings and sticky rice wrapped in a lotus leaf. I walked back to the subway, my camera loaded with what I hoped would be great photos and my bag filled with goodies for my personal Chinese New Year feasting.


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11 Responses to A DRAGON’S BLESSING

  1. Ann Saari on February 17, 2013 at 10:48 am

    Reminds me of years ago when I lived in San Francisco. I loved the dragon and lion dances in Chinatown.

    • Patty Little, Kenai Alaska on February 17, 2013 at 11:34 am

      They are beautiful and have very kind eyes. Thank you for sharing! Patty

  2. Jeri on February 17, 2013 at 11:50 am

    This looks like a lot of fun! I’ve never been to Chinese New Year and now I added it to my list of “must do” in 2014. Was the food as good as the story?

    Thanks for taking us along with you . . .

  3. Alicia on February 17, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    Great Photos!! Happy New Year!

  4. thelma straw on February 17, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    Loved your photos, mMarge. Brought back so many, many happy memories – for years I always celebrated Chinese New Year with lots of friends in Chinatown – it was one time of the calendar year when one could mix friends and colleagues of all faiths and nationalities – and everyone enjoyed everyone else and had a wonderful time sharing dishes!!!! Thelma in Manhattan

  5. Susan on February 17, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    Great pictures. Too bad sound doesn’t come with them. Looks like it was a ruckus of noise.

  6. thelma straw on February 17, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    Yessss! I agree ! Can you do sounds as well as photos next time!!!!!!! Thelma

  7. Sharon on February 17, 2013 at 11:41 pm

    Thanks again for sharing the wonderful sights of your city. This looks like it would be a fun time to be on the streets enjoying the activities.

  8. Eric Parker on February 18, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    Hey Marge
    Shat a wonderful essay on the NY Chinatown
    I kind of ignored it this yrea for some reason and you have
    reminded me of what I missed

    Great pix

    Next time we are going to your fave resto in Chinatown

    Gong hei fat choi


  9. toddi on February 18, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    That was some festivity that you went to. You are an amazing writer and photographer: I felt that I was actually there sharing your adventures. Karen and her daughter, Tracy goes every year to Portland with the two Chinese girls she adopted. I will try to go with her next year, but I do not think ti is as awsome as your time. Portland’s China town is a little more subdued. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Jan on February 20, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    Wow, what a feast for the senses!! GREAT photos, Margaret–makes me wish I was there. And now I’m hankerin’ for some shrimp dumplings!! Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful experience!