Celebrating the Year of the Pig in DC


Photo by Isabelle Pala and Libby Brown

Isabelle Pala and Libby Brown

Despite the frigid temperatures on February 10, a considerable crowd showed up for DC’s annual Lunar New Year parade. A diverse group of people huddled together to try and get a glimpse of the action passing by. The parade featured many traditional dances such as the Lion and Dragon dances, impressive floats, large banners, and firecrackers. After an incredible display of Chinese culture, a few guests spoke about the festival, including Mayor Muriel Bowser, other local politicians, and the Republic of China cultural representative. Starting at 6th and I Street, the parade lasted about 45 minutes as it made its way around a few blocks, ending at the beautiful Friendship Archway, an intricate gate that stands out in an area surrounded by gray buildings.

The Lunar New Year Festival is a celebration where family and friends come together to celebrate and welcome the new year, and 2019 is the Year of the Pig, a symbol of wealth and fortune. Every year, DC has festivities in which students in elementary, middle, and high school participate, including some Wilson students like junior Lin Wang, who says he and his friends “do some performances, like traditional dance, traditional songs, and even pop music. It is totally different for each performance.” For many students, this is a great way to take part in the Chinese Lunar New Year.

The nation’s capital is rich with Chinese culture, and the parade isn’t the only way to honor traditions. Located in Chinatown are the restaurants Dumplings And Beyond and Great Wall Szechuan House, where you can get authentic Chinese cuisine. Additionally, there are various shows happening at the Kennedy Center, such as the Guangdong Arts Troupe and Orchestra Assembly, and the National Ballet of China which performed “Raise the Red Lantern.”

Although these festivities aren’t quite like the celebrations in China, DC provides many attractions that are extraordinary and accessible for all. Once home to many of the city’s earliest Chinese immigrants, today’s Chinatown is a vibrant and significant part of the downtown area.