Boston’s Crowded Chinatown for Lunar New Year Festivities Offers Promise for Year of the Rabbit


CC: Aiden Stein

Boston’s Crowded Chinatown for Lunar New Year Festivities Offers Promise for Year of the Rabbit

Aiden Stein, Contributor

Thousands gathered for Boston Chinatown’s annual Lunar New Year festival on Sunday Jan. 29, as colorful processions of performers filled the streets and storefronts of the neighborhood. Local officials including Mayor Wu were in attendance, as residents and visitors hope for a lucky new year of support for local businesses. 

The historic neighborhood has existed since the late 1800s, and despite struggles for businesses during COVID, for now the crowds have returned to Chinatown. (CC: Aiden Stein)
Michelle Wu and her children, as well as other local officials enjoyed up-close performances by lion dance groups. (CC: Aiden Stein)

“It’s the year of the rabbit, and so I’m looking forward to a year of good fortune and celebrating with everybody,” Jennifer Wong from Metro West said. 

The Taiwanese and American flags hang side-by-side from Chinatown’s Paifang gate, a gift from the Taiwanese government in 1982 which welcomes visitors to the neighborhood. (CC: Aiden Stein)

The festivities encouraged traffic to Chinatown’s stores and eateries, with the hope of increased traffic not just for the day, but throughout the year post-COVID-19. 

Groups of musicians accompanied the lions, playing gongs, drums, and cymbals. (CC: Aiden Stein)

“There’s definitely more people this year than prior years, and that’s great, the weather’s good today, so I’m hoping to see more people out, it’s been a while since there’s been a ton of people in Chinatown,” Richard Le, a performer in Quincy-based Wong Keung dance group from Cambridge, said. 

Pairs of lions, each operated by two performers, go door to door blessing the restaurants and businesses in Chinatown. (CC: Aiden Stein)

So Lim Ting, owner of Friendship BBQ and Newton resident, said, “We love it, we come here every year for the past 8 years, and it keeps getting better and better, and this year, it’s the best because the weather is awesome.”

Many business owners leave out oranges and lettuce for the lions, which represent wealth and good fortune, bowing three times to show thanks when feeding them. (CC: Aiden Stein)

“We just decided to see how they celebrate Lunar New Year–I’m new here, and I haven’t been to Chinatown yet, so for me, this is an opportunity to see more of the restaurants in the community, and what it’s like here,” Jadie O’Connor from Brighton said.

Red in Chinese culture represents good luck, celebration, power, and happiness. A red lion towers over the crowd as performers jump onto each others’ shoulders. (CC: Aiden Stein)