Chicago's Chinatown New Year Parade welcomes Year of Tiger

09:38, February 16, 2010      

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About 35,000 Americans joined the Chinese community in Chicago's Chinatown in watching the spectacular parade to welcome the Year of the Tiger on Sunday.

After a recent heavy snowstorm, Chicago finally welcomed an exceptionally sunny day with a clear blue sky. The joyful atmosphere and colorful decorations in Chinatown dispelled the freezing coldness.

Both sides of the major streets in Chinatown were jammed with enthusiastic spectators from various ethnic backgrounds. Many Americans brought their entire families to experience the splendor and richness of the Chinese lunar New Year traditions.

The parade kicked off at Chinatown's Wentworth Avenue in the early afternoon. Elaborately decorated floats were presented to the cheering crowds, also spectacular dragon dancing and lion dancing, lively school marching bands and a stunning Chinese martial arts performance.

A petite American girl named Frances was struggling to catch a glimpse of the dragon dancing.

"Did the dragon dancing come ?" she asked anxiously. "I have been waiting here for about two hours. All I want is to take a picture of the dragon."

This year represents the Year of the Tiger on the Chinese lunar calendar, and the Chinese zodiac sign of the Tiger was certainly the theme of the parade. The tiger motif could be seen on banners, floats and other decorations.

Thomas LaGrassa, who came from a Chicago suburb, was completely dressed in red.

"I know red is the lucky color in China. So I put on red today. Hopefully I will have good luck in the new year," LaGrassa said, pointing to his red hat and socks.

His children were screaming with joy and playing with the Chinese firecrackers he just bought for them. "I brought the kids to the parade and would like them to experience the diverse world culture," he said.

The parade finished with joyful lion dancing. Huang Ping, the Chinese Consul General in Chicago, delivered his Chinese New Year greetings to everybody at the parade and presented the lion dancing team with traditional Chinese red envelopes, which contained cash prizes.

Kari Larson from Ellis University in Chicago said she had been looking forward to watching the Chinatown parade for three years and finally realized her dream. She came with her three friends and also took the opportunity to do some sightseeing in Chinatown.

"I like Chinese culture very much and look forward to visiting China in the future," she said.

Chicago's Chinatown, with a history of over 100 years, has been celebrating Chinese New Year for several decades. The traditional Chinese New Year celebration has become a popular festival not only for the Chinese community, but also for Americans of all ethnic backgrounds.

The Spring Festival, or the Chinese lunar New Year, is the most important traditional festival for family reunion in China. It is also the most celebrated holiday for overseas Chinese across the world. The lunar New Year falls on Feb. 14, Valentine's Day, this year.

Source: Xinhua
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