Inhibition: I get a little weird when it’s super crowded.
Betty’s response: Relax uptight Annie, this isn’t Singapore.
Experience: Sunday, February 2, Betty and I ride to the train station, where she sat it out, destination…Chinatown for the Chinese 2014 New Year Parade. (The CTA Red Line stop, Cermak, takes you directly across the street from the Chinatown gate.)
What I didn’t know: That I would be welcomed at the gate with a little blaring hip-hop music (not at all like Asian music) but was never-the-less very excited to experience a taste of Chinese tradition. About 10 blocks from the gate the parade began at 1. Arriving at noon, grandma style, I was thinking there might be other festivities and ran into these guys…
A couple of parade pics…
After the parade, and a hot tea warm-up, I witnessed what was perhaps my favorite part of the day’s event, a Lion Dance performed at the doorway of and into many of the merchant’s stores. Not to be confused with the Dragon Dance (he’s the super long dragon that is supported and moved by many dancers), the Lion Dance includes two dancers, one for the head and the other for the body. Performing a dance called, Cai qing, translated, “plucking the greens,” the Lion proceeds to the store’s threshold, takes an offering (in this case a head of lettuce), chews it in his mouth and then spits it out in shreds. Then he proceeds to dance through the store bringing good luck and fortune to the business. In return, with gratitude, the buisness owner gives the Lion a lovely red envelope with $ enclosed.
NOW, in addition, when asking one shop clerk why the envelope was given she explained that traditionally the lucky envelopes are also given to single people from married people in hopes they will soon marry, have a family, and pass it along to the next single person.
Last, and according to Chinese zodiac 2014 is the Year of the Horse (my zodiac sign, 1966), this little dandy had to be mine!
A lovely day that I enjoyed it thoroughly!
So, I’m off for now and extending to all: SHOW ME WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW!!!