How the city of joy welcomes the Chinese New Year

On the eve of the Lunar New year, the Chinese settlements in Kolkata get decked up in string lights,red lanterns and traditional   decorations. The locals gather on the streets,dressed in bright dresses,filled with glee and usher in the New Year with pomp and splendour.  
                                         Before the clock strikes midnight, the people gather in the temples and churches,indulging in music and celebrations,bursting firecrackers and havy a merrytime. The next morning sees the main part of the festivities.  The people from the community gather at the temples to seek blessings for a prosperous year ahead. As the sound of the  cymbals and the tanggu(Chinese drums) intensifies,a hefty number of on-lookers and people gather around to join in the festivites. 

A number of processions by different clubs start from here, going around the neighbourhood, visiting the local temples,churches and residences. The otherwise mundane streets brighten up with activity and joy,people of all ages and kind come down to be a part of the festivities. 

The procession gradually makes it's ways throught the bylanes ,stopping at residences to collect blessings and rewards.Integral part of the procession are the lions and dragons, the young people who wear a traditional mask with another carrying the long flowing costume. 


Cai qing,meaning plucking the greens is a part of the Chinese traditions,where the Hong bao (red envelopes of money) are given to the younger ones on this day. They form a human ladder,climbing upon each other's shoulders as the one dressed as the lion reaches out for the envelope and the  money,which are hung down by residents from the windows,along with lettuces . It is an unique sight,seeing the trust and bond they have as they confidently make these human towers.

The Lion Dance

Dressed in lion costumes,they dance on the streets,bursting firecrackers which is beleived to ward off evil.

Slowly as the afternoon sets in, the festivties gradually fade as the tired perfromers reutrn back to prepare for a sumptous lunch.

A unique celebration 

of compassion

of trust

and age-old traditions

A sizeable number of Chinese families call Kolkata their home,settled mostly in Tangra and around Tirretti bazaar. The glorious celebration of the New Year is et another testament to the the unique place that is Kolkata,our City of Joy. It is a concoction of traditions,cultures and acceptance for all. 

©Soumadri Chowdhury All rights reserved
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