The Golden Dragon Parade

Los Angeles has hosted the Golden Dragon Parade for the last 117 years. Yesterday was their 118th year.

The parade is an annual affair to commemorate the Chinese New Year, and is celebrated by folks of Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese descent.

Presented by the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Los Angeles, this colorful parade attracts thousands of people to China Town in LA along North Broadway.

Yes, we were there yesterday (thank you, Deepti Gupta… again!) to celebrate the Year of the Rooster with tourists and locals.

I am told Roosters are motivated creatures and babies born in this year will be career-oriented, trustworthy and responsible. Power to you, dear roosters!

I always go these parades with my anthropological hat on, and I am always looking for symbolic cultural elements that teach me something about the country, its beliefs and its people.

As I had hoped, we saw many Chinese red lanterns – a symbol of luck and prosperity. And of course, the Chinese umbrellas, such a fashion statement!

We also saw several women of all ages wearing beautiful Cheongsams, (long dresses, made of silk) and men wearing traditional Changshan. My little Anya wore a Cheongsam too 🙂

We also saw a ton of dragons and dragon dances! Dragons symbolize powers of good luck… some say they can control water, rains and floods. Dragons are bold and energetic and noble. Dragon dances date back to ancient China.

Then we saw Lion Dancing. This kind of dance is always done in twos and involves martial art tricks. Lions are symbols too – they are supposed to ward the evil spirits!

Did you know that both the Lion and Dragon dances go back to the Han dynasty? China’s culture is old and rich!

It was interesting to see young kids from many elementary and middle schools across California participate in the parade. Some of them held on to dragon heads, others played traditional taiko drums and other instruments and some danced to rehearsed moves. Some of them showed off their martial arts skills.


Chinese characters…yes – we saw them too. Don’t miss those bushy eyebrows!

We also saw some troupes performing Asian cultural dances. They looked like folk dances with simple but graceful group choreography, coordinated and almost ritualistic in nature.

There were also sponsored trucks – some looked like dragon boats and others like stage floats. One had a big rooster on it. There were princesses waving and crowds cheered them on.

It was also nice to see LAPD motorcycles, as well as societies such as the Chinese American Historical Society representing. Along with a ton of American flags, there were Chinese flags and banners. There were also so many party poppers and with that so much colorful confetti. Pretty sight.

Here’s wishing the Lunar New Year brings happiness and fortune to everyone!


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