The pandemic has cut short all the celebrations, and the Chinese New Year was no different. Instead of an extended New Year celebration at Teritti Bazar and Tangra, the Chinese community in Kolkata organised a two-day food festival along with a grand lion dance at China Town, Kolkata.
With more than 12 food stalls, set up by the local Chinese community and eight by the renowned hotels and restaurants, welcoming the Year of the Ox turned out to be a grand celebration of food. The 12 food stalls were seen selling traditional dishes, usually served in Chinese households. The meatballs, dim sums, bao and noodles were top draws at the carnival.
Mery Liu, one of the senior members of Chinese association said that the event has been going on for the last three decades, it was never publicized before. In fact, not many people outside the Chinese Community would drop by. “It was mostly for the local Chinese community, who would meet and celebrate the New Year together. Chinese homemakers would set up stalls with food and games to earn some extra bucks,” she said.
This year, the festival was open to all but celebrated at an enclosed venue. “We did this because of the pandemic. The usual celebration would attract a lot of people who would crowd the roadsides. But with this arrangement we were able to control the crowd,” said one of the organisers.
The traditional lion dance was an important part of the festival and Master James Liu and his students presented a glittering show. James, who has been teaching Lion dance to the local slum boys to give them a direction in life, talked about the story behind the lion dance. He said that once upon a time a disobedient lion in the heavens offended the gods with his misdeeds. The gods sent him to exile on the earth. Soon, entire mankind was fed up with its mischiefs until a Buddhist monk magically tamed it. Since then every year on New Year, the event is celebrated with this performance.