All Chinese communities go ecstatic and extravagant during Chinese New Year. One of the highlights of this event is the Chinese New Year parade. The Chinese New Year Parade continues to amaze and delight the millions who witness it year after year and remains to be one of the most inspiring, most widely-celebrated events.
The Chinese New Year parade is indeed grand in every sense of the word. The young, the old, the rich and the poor crowd the streets to watch the event with excitement. The showcase of lion and dragon dances, street performers, colorful costumes, strings of fireworks, and the happy faces all make the annual parade and Chinese New Year celebration truly unforgettable.
The lion dance symbolizes the bringing in of good fortune. As the performers dance through the streets, people are also entertained by the drums and gongs. These instruments create the lively and dynamic sounds that accompany the Lion Dance. The Chinese people believe the loud drum beats awaken the legendary animal and ward off evil spirits.
Millions of spectators are also wowed by the brilliant sparkles and fireworks display as no Chinese New Year Parade is complete without them. Loud firecrackers are also set off around the lion and the dragon to banish ghosts.
In China, the dragon is considered a popular symbol for power, wisdom and luck. This is why most, if not all, Chinese people believe that they are descendants of the dragon. In the Chinese New Year Parade, the dragon is the biggest attraction. The dragon used for the special event is usually made from silk, bamboo and other colorful materials. The dragon can be as long as 100 ft. and can be carried by 50 young men on poles. It is a belief that the longer the dragon is, the better the year would be.
The Chinese New Year Parade is also where East meets West. This is because the Chinese New Year Parade also features other Non-Chinese traditions. Aside from the symbolic lion and Golden Dragon dance, the parade also features non-Chinese activities like the beauty pageant. Many people come to see the newly crowned Ms. Chinatown and her court along with the colorful Chinese-themed floats, marching bands and other Asian groups that join the parade.
How it All Started
During San Francisco’s Gold Rush period, over 50,000 hopefuls came to work in the mines hoping for a better life. Among them were Chinese immigrants who later on formed friendships and ties with everyone else. These Chinese immigrants soon shared their unique culture by using the good old-fashioned American Parade. Through the help of other groups from different parts of the city, they were able to promote the rich Chinese culture.
Today, all Chinatowns across the world celebrate Chinese New Year with festivals and parades with the San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade as the grandest of its kind outside of Asia. The Chinese New Year Parade has indeed come a long way.