February 04, 2017

Photo Essay: Ringing In The Year of the Rooster

I don't follow the Chinese lunar calendar or zodiac (or really any zodiac, for that matter)...

...but I'll take any excuse for a parade.

The Golden Dragon Parade that marches through LA's Chinatown for Chinese New Year is much like the Rose Parade that commemorates the New Year of the Gregorian calendar...

...but with less fresh flowers on its floats...

...more dancing lions...

...and more dragons.

Animals are actually a big part of the Lunar New Year celebration, which revolves around a rotating cast of 12 creatures from the zodiac.

Until January 28, 2017, we were in the Year of the Monkey (申).

But now, as of the first New Moon of 2017, we're in the Year of the Rooster (酉).

Every new year celebration—regardless of the associated animal or bird—seems to focus on wishes for wealth in the coming year...

...which our local casino hopes you'll spend at their tables.

But the real significance of the zodiac—as with much astrology—is whether or not you're born in that year.

If you were born a Rooster, this is going to be an unlucky year for you. Better luck in 2018, the Year of the Dog (戌).

This procession through Chinatown is unique and particularly festive because of all the (otherwise outlawed) silly string... well as the confetti poppers and bang snaps (or trick noisemakers), which sometimes drown out the music.

And while there are the usual beauty queen types (impressively walking the mile-and-a-half route in staggeringly high heels)...

...and cute little girls twirling...

...there are also some older folks...

...delighting in the tradition...

...which, in the case of the Golden Dragon Parade, goes back 118 years.

Today I overheard someone at the parade say, "LA loves China." And while that may be true, it was not always so.

The Chinese of El Pueblo got evicted from their original settlement for the construction of the railroad (and Union Station) and, displaced and massacred, had to move to their current location (which is technically "New Chinatown").

Maybe that's why it was nice to see that today's festivities weren't an "ethnic" event. Chinese culture is woven into the fabric of Los Angeles as much as any other.

After all, we're all outsiders in LA. Besides the Tongva, we all came from somewhere else.

Some of us just had to travel farther than others.

Related Posts:
Photo Essay: The Decorations, Wishes, and Faces of Chinese New Year
Photo Essay: The Rose Parade, Never on a Sunday Edition
Photo Essay: New Year's Day at the Rose Parade

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