Downtown Boston's Chinatown is the cultural heart of the Chinese community and a lively late-night hub. Asian eateries range from dumpling houses and dim sum palaces to seafood spots and upscale lounges. Bakeries, food markets and gift shops dot the area. At the entrance to the neighborhood, contemporary Chinatown Park features a river-inspired fountain, plants native to Asia and a square that draws chess players.
It is the only surviving historic Chinese enclave in New England. Because of the high population of Asians and Asian Americans living in this area of Boston, there is an abundance of Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants located in Chinatown. It is one of the most densely populated residential areas in Boston and serves as the largest center of its East Asian and Southeast Asian cultural life. Chinatown borders the Boston Common, Downtown Crossing, the Washington Street Theatre District, Bay Village, the South End, and the Southeast Expressway/Massachusetts Turnpike. Boston's Chinatown is one of the largest Chinatowns outside of NYC.
The traditional Chinatown Gate (paifang) with a foo lion on each side is located at the intersection of Beach Street and Surface Road. This was once a run-down area, housing little more than a ventilation-fan building for the Central Artery Tunnel; however, a garden was constructed at this site as part of the Big Dig project. The Gate is visible from the South Station Bus Terminal, and is a popular tourist destination and photo opportunity. Offered by the Taiwanese government to the City in 1982, the gate is engraved with two writings in Chinese: Tian Xia Wei Gong, a saying attributed to Sun Yat-sen that translates as "everything under the sky is for the people", and Li Yi Lian Chi, the four societal bonds of propriety, justice, integrity, and honor.
Community Events and Celebrations
A major part of the culture and history of Chinatown are the events celebrated by the people who live here. There are many community programs and events held in Chinatown annually, but the most noted are the New Years celebration, the Lion Dance Festival, and the August Moon Festival.
One of the biggest festivals of the year celebrated in Chinatown, is the August Moon Festival. This festival is often held in the middle of August and usually lasts for the entire day. During this Festival, there are vendor booths for handmade and traditional Chinese items and plenty of traditional food for sale. Chinese dough art is taught for those interested in learning the art. Additionally the Chinese Opera performs during this time. There is also children's Chinese folk dancing, martial arts performances, and lion dancers from around Chinatown and throughout the world, many who come just for the festival.
Another notable celebration that happens every year in Chinatown is the New Years Parade, also known as the Lion Dance Festival. The Chinese New Year Parade marks the biggest annual celebration in Boston's Chinatown and each year a new animal of the Chinese zodiac is celebrated. The name Lion Dance comes from the costumes worn by those in the parade who often wear lions or dragon costumes. The dance is part of the parade each year. In China, this celebration begins on the first day of the first month in the lunar calendar traditionally used in much of Asia. It is sometimes called the Lunar New Year, but it is different in Boston's Chinatown based on when spring begins. There is also the annual Lantern Festival which is one of the largest tourist attractions and includes Lion Dances, Asian folk dances, martial arts performances, and traditional Chinese singing. *wikipedia.org
About the Neighborhood
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