Dragons, Drums and Firecrackers

Erica’s Mom asked us if we were going to come and see the street “Ding ding dong.”  I am not sure if this was the official name, I think that it was just the closest she could come to explaining it to us in English.  We nodded affirmatively, we definitely wanted to come and see the parades.  Erica’s Mother was the second half of the yellow dragon from her team’s Dragon procession and we promised to look for them.

The team was up early and long gone before we had finished breakfast.  We went out roaming the streets to find them.  Along the way, we saw a large parade procession moving from building to building dancing along with banging cymbals and drums (above).   We would later run into this long parade, but for now, we looked for Erica’s Mom’s yellow dragon.  After some time, we had success and found them performing in front of a local business.

As the dancer and dragons danced and banged away on their cymbals and drums, the business owner lit off roll after roll of firecrackers.  Even the locals had to run for cover from time to time (below).  The business owners showered the dragon team with gifts of chocolates, cartons of cigarettes and red envelopes stuffed with cash.  We followed along from building to building covering our ears while trying to steady our cameras.

If you ever come to Chinese New Year, be sure to bring earplugs!  After some time, I found a tissue and rolled some up into each ear.



Later, we caught up to the large parade procession and followed it along.  Behind the dragon followed a large group of Chinese men all wearing blue jump suits.  They looked like a karate club.  The procession came to a long business district road that dead-ended at what looked like a commercial bank.  All of the dragons came and danced in front of this business, alternately bowing as string after string of firecrackers was lit off.  As the dragons danced, some of the blue jumpsuit wearing Chinese men came to the front and threw some punches, kicks and karate moves.  The entire sight was quite a spectacle as you can see in the video below:



After the dragons finished their dance, the blue jumpsuit men brought up some bamboo poles and made a huge human pyramid.  As they began climbing ever upwards, someone in the bank building lowered a large red bag down by a rope; I could only imagine that the bag was stuffed with cash.  In not time, the blue men climbed up and triumphantly snatched the bag to the pleasure of the crowd who clapped and cheered.



As the blue men climbed for the bank bag, the dragons took a break (they were actually sitting down) and I used this opportunity to capture a photo of them.  They were elaborately decorated and had bright and vibrant colors.

For the rest of the morning, we walked around and watched as the Chinese people celebrated another Lunar New Year.  We saw so many dragon and dancing teams and avoided large strings of firecrackers.  One business wrapped so many firecrackers around a tree and set them off.  I stepped back to some distance and recorded the event.  As you can see, the entire city was filled with acrid smoke and the ground was littered with fireworks papers:




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