Photographer's Note

Lion Dancers Facing Exploding Firecrackers at the Chinese New Year Celebration, New Chinatown, Argyle St., Chicago, January 2004

Not only the lion dancers at yesterday's Chinese New Year celebration had to elude the firecrackers but also the heavy snow fall that the city experienced.

Argyle St. on the northside of Chicgo is dubbed as the New Chinatown as the street is lined with Vietnamese (mostly ethnic Chinese) shops. Every Chinese New Year as part of the celebration, every shop hangs firecrackers on their door, the lion dancers journey from shop to shop (to be fed, usually for money), after which they go outside and perform their dance in front of the exploding firecrackers. The gist of the ceremony is that the noise of the firecrackers, along with the drum music and the fierceness of the lion supposedly scare evil spirits away for spiritual cleaning to start the New Year.

Yesterday's celebration was special because it was heavily snowing the whole time while the parade was going on, while the lion dancers went shop to shop, and while the firecrackers were popping from one end of the street to the other, about four city blocks altogether.

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Additional Photos by Ken Ilio (flip89) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 537 W: 173 N: 576] (3418)
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