There I was, shopping in my favorite international supermarket.
I was just getting out of the frozen foods section, laden with tasty gyoza and chicken breast. I was checking out the tea section and heading to the front when I heard the most tremendous sound – it was like ten people firing belt fed machine guns at once! The sound went on and on, and it was deafening.
So I stopped where I was, made sure I was near cover, oriented, saw no no one panicking and put two and two together. So that’s what the odd red rope had been! I’d seen it coiled up in a shopping cart and attached to the outside sign of the store as I’d entered. It was a rope of fireworks, for Chinese New Year!
Much comforted, but ears still ringing, I made my way to the front. I wished the nice cashier a happy new year over the noise, paid, and headed toward the entrance–only to find a lion dance starting at the front door!
What’s a baffled Westerner to do? Stop, get my cart out of the way, smile and enjoy it! So I did! They had drums, cymbals or something that sounded like them, a red lion and a gold lion both worked by people dancing underneath the costume, a whole group of youths to take over when they teams got tired, and two guys with masks who were fanning at the lions and chasing the bad luck away. Caught up in it all, I had an amazing time.
When I came home a little late I had a really good excuse: “delayed by lion dance.” What an amazing experience. I’m going back next year.
These pictures were taken of this years event, like the one at the beginning of the post.
Here’s one of two ropes of fireworks!
Here’s the drummer, preparing to be really loud.
Two lions, one red, one gold…
The aftermath, showing all the firecrackers that went off.
Happy Chinese New Year!