D.C. celebrates the Chinese New Year

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Roxanne Goldberg.

D.C. residents and visitors alike lined H Street Sunday to celebrate the Chinese New Year.

The crowded stretch of Chinatown came alive with dancers, kung fu demonstrations, floats and traditional Chinese food at the Chinese New Year Parade.

Hosted by the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, an organization comprising 30 Chinese-American organizations across the metropolitan area, the parade was expected to attract 40,000 attendees and reach another 40 million through a nationwide televised broadcast.

Marking the lunar year 4710, the annual parade welcomed the Year of the Black Water Dragon. According to Chinese astrology, the Year of the Dragon is a time for grand change and prosperity.

“When you talk about prosperity, when you talk about leadership, when you talk about the Year of the Dragon, you are talking about an opportunity to continue to shine and to make 2012 a year never to be forgotten,” D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown said.

The parade allowed Chinese attendees to honor their heritage with friends and family on the sacred day.

Celebrated around the world, the Chinese New Year commemorates the story of Nian, a monster whose terrorizing of an ancient Chinese village came to an end after the townspeople realized Nian’s fear of the color scarlet and loud noises.

“When the people painted red on their doors and made loud noises with firecrackers, Nian ran from the village and never came back. So, every year they do the parade to make sure that Nian would never come back,” said 10-year-old Jacob Graham, who learned about the Chinese New Year at the Washington Yu Ying Public Charter School.

D.C.’s Chinese New Year parade is significant not only for the people of China, but also for the city of D.C.

“We know there have been a lot of changes in our city in recent years, especially in this area with the building of the Verizon Center and all the changes along 7th Street and Gallery Place, but what has not changed, and what hopefully will not change, is the presence of Chinatown as an awarding cultural center here in the District of Columbia,” Mayor Vincent Gray said during the festivities.

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