Thousands of confetti-covered revelers lined the historic streets of Manhattan's Chinatown on Sunday for the 20th Annual Lunar New Year Parade.
There were lion dances, dragon dances, marching bands, drummers, beauty queens, sponsored floats, ridiculous vehicles, silly-string shooters, wide-eyed little kids, politicians (Mayor Bill de Blasio, Borough Presidents Gail Brewer and Eric Adams, and Senator Chuck Schumer, among others), and, of course, a seemingly endless number of poppers raining confetti all over everything. The weather was pleasant, and the crowds were thick and giddy all along the half-mile route, especially along the prime viewing spots on Mott Street.
(Scott Lynch / Gothamist)
The neighborhood's Year of the Pig celebrations weren't limited to Sunday's parade, however. On Saturday many of these same streets in the heart of Chinatown were closed to traffic for the also-annual Lion Dance Parades. This is a far more free-form event, with no NYPD barricades or fixed itinerary, as some 40 different lion dance groups roam the streets banging on drums, eating symbolically-significant cabbages and oranges, and entering local businesses to scare off evil spirits and impart a promise of prosperity for the coming year.
Lion at a salon (Scott Lynch / Gothamist)
Business owners make sure to have red envelopes ready for the lions (Scott Lynch / Gothamist)
For their blessings, the lions are often "fed" a red envelope with a donation for the group. There are also confetti poppers exploding everywhere all afternoon. Saturday's Lion Dances offer an excellent alternative to Sunday's big parade, as a way to experience some of the tradition, fun, and spectacle without the monster crowds.
The pig is the twelfth and final animal in the Chinese zodiac cycle. Next winter we start over again with the rat.