The Chinese New Year is celebrated all month-long in January. The last Sunday of the month (check the schedule) features a sort of parade (not your typical parade) and dragon ceremonies that are both colorful and loud.
Lots of smiles and excitement as the crowds surrounded a Chinese Dragon meandering in the streets. Then came many colorful costumed dragons who would dance to the sounds of drums and symbols. Area businesses would hang a long string of firecrackers from an upstairs window. The string would be lit at the bottom, and as the firecrackers went off, the string would be lowered from above by a man holding what looked to be a fishing pole. As the firecrackers continued to explode, the colorful dragons would dance and jump amidst them. Topping the string of firecrackers was a head of lettuce. After escaping exploding firecrackers, the dragons appeared to fight to get the lettuce. It would disappear into one of the dragon’s huge mouths, and come back out as shredded lettuce. Apparently attached to each head of lettuce was an envelope containing money supplied by the local business. The firecracker ceremony brings good luck to the store, and the store owner thanks the performers with a gift. Then on to the next store where the ceremony was repeated again and again. It seemed that each time the firecrackers went off, there were more of them, they got louder and created more smoke. And as the day went on, the crowds got larger and more and more people enjoyed the ceremonies, although many children covered their ears to muffle the noise.
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