NYC – 2020 – Chinese New Year – Firecrackers – Parade

Chinatown is one of the most famous neighborhoods in downtown Manhattan and hands down holds two of the best events of the the Chinese New Year celebration.


For two weeks, starting on January 25, you can head to Manhattan’s Chinatown for the Firecracker Ceremony and later, on February 9th, the Chinese New Year Parade.

 

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Thousands of these are sold, almost everyone of them is used on the streets.
During the Firecracker Celebration the streets get covered in confetti, people dress in red and gold with beautifully painted faces or masks, and the sounds of drums and bells and huge dragons are everywhere. This is what Chinese New Year looks like in New York. The celebration of this holiday is both visually and atmospherically impressive. The street parties with vendors selling great Chinese food, different performances, music, firecrackers, and entertainment for all ages last for almost two weeks.
 

 the sparkly explosives are set off to ward off bad spirits for 2020.

Here are some highlights.

The Chinese New Year Parade and Festival takes place on a different day than the Firecracker Festival. This year it will be celebrated on Sunday, February 9th. The spectacle includes musicians, lion and dragon dances, stunning outfits, acrobats and martial art performers. More than 5,000 people participate in the parade. Celebrate the Year of the Rat. [The Chinese zodiac begins a new 12-year cycle in early 2020 with the Year of the Rat. According to lore, the rat (as a zodiac animal personality, that is) is associated with wealth, cleverness and likability. Those all sound pretty good.]

The New Year Parade

 

Helpful hints
For prime photo and viewing opportunities, get as close to the barricades as you can. Once the crowd forms the lines will be several people deep and movement will be restricted along the path. So find a good spot and stick to it! Remember that spectators count in the thousands, with travelers even coming from outside the city to enjoy the festivities.

You will be outside for the duration of the parade, which lasts for several hours and occurs rain or shine. Even in milder temperatures, being exposed to wind and rain over a prolonged period can be harsh. Avoid bulky bags, which might be searched. And keep your hands free so you can take great pics and set off those fun confetti cannons!
Note; Public bathrooms are rare in this area. I would suggest that you do not load up on liquids before the parade. Columbus Park (mulberry Street) is open but not always the cleanest. If you go into an eating place ask if they have bathrooms for customers before ordering.
Click on pictures to enlarge

In Chinatown is that many things are looking at you.

What to eat

Traditional holiday foods include dumplings, long noodles, peanuts and dim sum to name a few. You’ll find plenty of places along the main Chinatown strips serving up menus filled with New Year’s delicacies. 

Also, You can find fresh fish to take home at a very reasonable price.

 

Many interesting moments when you are just wandering.

Young women mix of the traditional and the modern.

Color is everywhere

 

A few of the “other” photos.

Previous Posts about Chinatown

Chinatown’s Charm

Joss Paper – Funerals

people

Hand Fans

This is a brief video to let you listen to the noise.Video

NYC – Small things add to Chinatown’s charm

 

This is a short piece just to remind us that there are still plenty of obscure things to find while visiting or re-visiting a city.

Looking at the photo below you immediately know you are in Chinatown.

Streets are  filled with all kinds of imagery.

 

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We have all heard that the sum of all the parts makes the whole thing. I guess that is why we can spend so much time looking at so many different items and objects.

Here is another photo that shows you how a regular street light can be outfitted to look more Chinese.

deskey_corner

 

The lamp now has pagoda shades.

in 1965 several of them were outfitted with luminaries resembling traditional Chinese lanterns… the older ones can be seen on Mosco Street.

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deskey_close up

 

 

Another feature of, Chinatown, shopping is that you can see the same item in (almost) every shop. Here is an example:

 

I selected the “waving” kitten and wonder just how many there are of them – maybe not just in Chinatown?

Do you own one?

 

 

Many Chinatown shop owners have Buddhist statues in less visible parts of their stores like this red-faced Guan-Gong, sword in hand, who is supposed to protect a shop from evil.

From Google
From Google

Beyond the stalls selling steamed pork buns and knockoff handbags, the observant visitor to Chinatown can watch a telling ritual unfold. Look, in the crowded corners of shops and high on the shelves, for the little wooden red shrines, each containing a different Buddhist statue. Not meant to be seen, their presence is felt. More info here.

 

My pic a little out of focus but shows where they hid it
My pic a little out of focus but shows where they placed-in the corner.

Taking the above seriously, it can interesting trying to find hidden Buddhas. Remember though to be discrete and above all, respectful.

 

 

This little gem may not be worth going out of your way to find. It is rundown and hardly visible but it is an important part of history.

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The First Cemetery of Spanish and Portuguese synagogue is in southern Manhattan, above the first neighborhoods of New York City; it is the oldest Jewish cemetery in North America. The lot sits south of  Chatham Square in Chinatown and is lined with the graves of, among others, 22 veterans of the American Revolution. There are actually three of these in the city. 11th and 21st Street are the other two locations.

Archives

Chinatown Joss Paper

chinatown Hand Fans

Chinatown People

NYC – Chinatown – joss Paper – Funerals

Joss Paper (Funeral Customs)

Third of three in Chinatown series

Joss paper are sheets of paper that are burned in traditional Chinese deity or ancesimagestor worship ceremonies during special holidays. Joss paper is also burned in traditional Chinese funerals. Usually made of white paper cut into the shape of a copper coin, joss paper is scattered around the grave or burned as an offering to the dead. The custom is called “paper scattering” or “paper burning” etc. It is still popular today

Traditionally, Joss paper is made from coarse bamboo paper or rice paper. The Joss is cut into squares or rectangles and has a thin piece of square foil glued in the center. Sometimes, it is even endorsed with a traditional Chinese red ink seal depending on the particular region. The paper is generally of a white color (symbolizing mourning) and the foil is either silver or gold (representing wealth), hence the name, ghost money. 1280px-HK_Chai_Wan_Cape_Collinson_Crematorium_天地銀行_Joss_paper_money_The_Hell_Bank_Notes_offering_May-2013The three types of ghost money are copper (for newly deceased spirits and spirits of the unknown), gold (for the deceased and the higher gods), and silver (for ancestral spirits and local deities). Sometimes Joss paper is completely gold, engraved with towers or ingots. The burning of joss paper is not done casually, but with a certain reverence, placed respectfully in a loose bundle. Some other customs involve folding each sheet in a specific manner before burning. The burning is mostly done in an earthenware pot or a chimney built specifically for this purpose. Practitioners of the ritual, derived from a mix of Taoism and regional folklore, believe that burning paper money equates to making advance deposits into an afterlife bank account that the deceased’s spirit can access in heaven.

 

Paper objects, such as clothing, jewellery, mobile phones, accessories, cars including a liveried chauffeur, lavish models of paper villas with manicured gardens, home interiors, medicine, fancy foods and liquors, cosmetics and others, should be extravagant, luxurious and will most likely be showing a high end brand name of an earthly company; simply speaking: the more expensive- the better. The ancestors will be given all the luxuries that were eluded in life.

As many Taiwanese people believe the world spirits go to in the afterlife is a mirror of the human world, they also believe that the departed require a place to live, food to eat and money. Burning an object at a funeral in the human world transports it to the spirit world, which keeps the ghost of the departed happy and brings luck to the living.

Note: a store, Fook On Sing Funeral Supplies, on Mulberry Street along what is known in Chinatown as Funeral Row, sells traditional objects of mourning, mostly copies of luxury objects. The items are made of cardboard, paper and plastic. 

 

nyc – Chinatown – People

Chinatown – People

(second of a three part Blog)

chinatown_4_14 (7)                  chinatown_4_14 (5)         Spent some time in Chinatown and Little Italy. It was a sunny day and a weekend. It still amazes me th at the charm of this area still makes me feel great! The following will give you a sense of what I was looking at and enjoying on this marvelous day.

Playing games is a popular activity in the local parks

Watching all kinds of activities

Cigars ?  This store is in the heart of Little Italy

chinatown_4_14 (15)   CIGARS_no label                        First Part: Fans

NYC – Chinatown – Hand Fans

 

Chinatown – first of three in series

The fan has a long history in Chinese culture. Since ancient times, along with the changes from one dynasty to another, the function of the fan has also changed. The fan was originally used for blocking the view, the sun or the wind and for keeping cool. Later on, people wrote poems and painted paintings on fans. In addition, they can act as tools during the artistic performance like pingtan (an art of Suzhou City), drama, dance and other folk arts. In the ancient times, dancers liked to hold fans while dancing, and the preference has been handed down until now. The fan dance has become a dancing art with distinctive Chinese characteristics.

 

The fan, which is made of thin bamboo strips, thin silks, feathers, leaves of sunflowers, and papers, is a traditional Chinese handicraft used for cooling. Fans, for they can bring people cool, were called “Shelter from the Sun” in ancient China, and called “Cool Friends” by the literati. The craftwork fans as commodities, which are made of bamboos, trees, papers, fans, ivories, hawksbills, jades, feathers of fowls, leaves of palms and arecas, stalks of wheat, and stems of cattails, can be produced in a variety of types with graceful shapes and exquisite structures. China is always regarded as the kingdom of fans.  Today you have to go to specialized shops to find authentic fans.

 

Those sold on the street are mostly plastic but still colorful and elaborate.