2022 Chinatown Lion Dance Parade

Time:  Sunday, February 13, 2022, 10AM – 3PM

Starting Location:  Phillips Square, Chinatown (near the intersection of Harrison Ave and Beach St)

This event is open to the general public, free of charge

In Chinese culture, the lion dance is performed on special occasions, such as Chinese New Year, to chase away evil spirits and misfortune and welcome prosperity and good luck.  The lion is a symbol of power, wisdom, and superiority.  Each lion is operated by two dancers, and the dancing lions are accompanied by drummers and cymbalists.  The lions come in different colors, generally white, yellow, black, silver or green, which signify the age and character of the lions.

Chinatown’s annual Lion Dance Parade in celebration of the Chinese New Year starts by Phillips Square (near the intersection of Harrison Avenue and Beach Street) and features multiple lion dance troupes.  As the lions parade throughout Chinatown, you may notice many businesses leaving out oranges and lettuce heads (auspicious produce) to welcome the dancers to their storefronts for the luck and good fortune the lions bring.  

In addition to the Lion Dance, CCBA hosts a Culture Village at 90 Tyler Street, Boston (Chinatown), MA showcasing the origin story behind the Chinese zodiac, Chinese calligraphy, Chinese arts and crafts and other cultural-related activities.

Chinese New Year has enjoyed a history of over 3,000 years and is one of the most important holidays in Chinese culture.  The holiday celebrates the beginning of a new year based on the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar and a new planting year for agriculture.

The Chinese New Year is associated with several myths and customs.  In one of the origin stories, loud noises and red papers were used to ward off an evil beast, Nian, that attacked people and caused destruction on the eve of a new year.  Today, firecrackers, red lanterns and signs, and other red decorations are common motifs during Chinese New Year.

The holiday is traditionally a time for families to gather to honor deities and ancestors.  In preparation for the Chinese New Year, families thoroughly clean their homes to sweep away any ill fortune and make way for incoming good luck.  Homes are decorated with red lanterns and couplets with messages for good fortune, happiness, wealth, and longevity.  Other customs include the giving of “lai see” in red envelopes for good luck, happiness, and health.

Thank you to the sponsors of the 2020 Chinatown Lion Dance Parade:  South Cove Community Health Center, East West Bank, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Tufts Medical Center, and the Taipei Economic & Cultural Office in Boston.