Kolkata ushers in Chinese New Year with music and dragon dance | Kolkata News


KOLKATA: The Chinese in Tangra and Tiretta Bazaar ushered in the New Year with music, dance and merriment late on Friday night with the celebrations that carried on into the wee hours of Saturday. This is the Year of the Rat.
Preparations for the New Year had began days earlier with 10 groups practising lion dance. On Friday night – the New Year’s eve – the groups started from different parts of Tangra, including the Pei Mei School, dancing to the beat of drums and cymbals as they progressed through the lanes and bylanes of the Chinatown to finally converge at the marketplace. There they went around in a procession.
After the show concluded around 1pm, the groups dispersed and visited Chinese homes, burst crackers, performed the lion dance and handed out good luck red envelopes. This carried on till dawn on Saturday when the New Year’s eve festivity finally drew to an end.
On Saturday, many homes had vegetarian meals. Some kept their establishments shut. The restaurants that were open shut shop early on Saturday, the New Year’s day. On Sunday, the lion dance groups plan to visit Chinese families living away from the twin hubs in Tangra and Tiretta Bazaar in vans. “On Janaury 27 and 28, a carnival will be held at Pei Mei School grounds with games, lottery and food. It is popular not just among the Chinese but the non-Chinese population in Tangra as well,” said Chinese Indian Association president Bean Ching Law.
What makes the celebration special each year is the arrival of Chinese Indians who have migrated to distant lands but return to the roots to spend the New Year with family. This year, too, Tangra’s population has swelled to 3,000 from the usual 2,000 with many flying down from Canada, Hong Kong and Australia. Among them is a 56-year-old who was a child when he migrated to New York with his parents 37 years ago and has returned to Kolkata for the first time since.

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