Tuesday, January 27, 2009

CNY Firecracker Ceremony 2009

We woke up bright and early on the 1st day of Chinese New Year. Despite the frigid -7C temperature, we were all gung ho about heading to Chinatown to join in the Chinese New Year festivities. We took the PATH to the WTC station and started walking towards Chinatown. We saw online that there will be a Firecracker Ceremony, hosted by the Fukien American Association. There will be lion and dragon dances as well as lighting of firecrackers to usher in the new year.
We know that it's in Chinatown, but where in Chinatown? I looked it up online and found three different locations! Oh well, just head towards Chinatown and we can ask around :D We tried the first location, Chatham Square. It's nearest to the WTC Station and it was the location for last years Firecracker Ceremony. Guess what we saw there?

Nothing! Not a single person in sight.

Maybe the other side of Chatham Square? Nope...I guess it's not here either! We proceeded to ask a cop if he knew where the ceremony was. He said he has no idea, he was also waiting for further instructions! Wow, I think it's going to be a long day :P So, we continued walking towards the heart of Chinatown....

...stopped to take a photo with Confucius and continued walking. We decided to head towards the famous information kiosk under the big dragon to get more details about the location for the ceremony. We found a group of 'lost' people asking the same question and the helpful guy at the counter pointed us to the correct direction. It's at SDR Park, at the corner of Canal and Forsyth St. OK, now we know where to go! Another 6 blocks to go.

By then we were feeling a little hungry and started to look out for roadside food carts. Anywhere else in NYC, when we are hungry...we buy Hot Dogs, Kebabs or Pretzels from the street vendors. In Chinatown, it's Egg Rolls and Fishballs on a Stick!!! Only in Chinatown....

After getting our Egg Rolls, we continued walking and we saw some Lion Dance troupes getting ready to head towards the same direction as us. Woohoo!! We are on the right track!

At last we saw a park with flags waving in the air. Yes! We are at the SDR Park at last! I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the firecrackers!! Since the ban of firecrackers in Malaysia, I have not seen many firecrackers around, let alone so many! They must be at least 15ft long..at least. There were not many people there yet, so we managed to get a good spot, right in front.

The crowd soon began to grow and the dragon and lion dance troupes started to arrive. There were reporters and news crews from various news networks too.

I believe 'Choy San' was spotted in the crowd too! ;P

The crowd started to get excited when a large group of important looking Chinese businessmen in long coats and gangster hats walked in with their wives in thick fur coats. They must be some really important people in Chinatown. They were lead to seats specially reserved for them and something tells me the ceremony is about to begin.

It started with the Veterans marching in and both the American and China national anthem being sung by some lady.

With that, the ceremony began! Fireworks started shooting out from behind the firecrackers followed by the firecrackers! Boy, I have forgotten how loud they can be! It just went on and on and on!! I had my fingers plugged in my ears for the entire time. Poor Kevin had to take this video clip, I bet his ears were ringing for a bit after the firecrackers stopped!!

After the firecrackers, the lion and dragon dances began. It was followed by some cultural dances by the ladies of the association.

The 'important' people walked around to greet the crowd for a while and left with their 'bodyguards'. With that, it marks the end of the ceremony. We then headed to the heart of Chinatown to join in more CNY celebrations but I will blog about it more in my next post :D


June said...

how fun!!!!

Charlene n Kevin said...

yeah, it's very 'lau juak' in chinatown during the 1st day of cny. we will also be going for the parade this weekend. hows the chinatown in boston?

June said...

Chinatown in Boston, not as big...they should also have some CNY celebration, just that we prefer to stay home =)....we have a pretty good M'sian restaurant in chinatown; Penang Restaurant.

Charlene n Kevin said...

There are three Penangs in Boston, isn't it?

June said...

I know there were 3 Malaysian restaurants......2 were Penang (Cambridge & Boston), and the other was Aneka Rasa. However, the Cambraidge chain had changed ownership and names, and I think have closed their shutters. Same for Aneka Rasa.=(. Penang Boston has the best M'sian food among the three though! I love Chicago & Philly Penang too.............