Celebrating Chinese New Year in Yokohama

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Celebrating Chinese New Year in Yokohama
2019.02.21

This week's Tuesday marked the end of Chinese New Year celebrations most comonnly called in China Spring Festival. As Yokohama houses the largest Chinese community in Japan you can enjoy a grand celebration events in Chukagai (Chinatown). Spring Festival has been hold here since 1986, so this year it was the 33rd edition.
The highlights of Chukagai celebrations, held during the 15 days from 5th to 19th February were:
- Lion Dance
- Celebration Parade
- Traditional Performance Art
- Lantern Festival.

I made my visit in Chukagai at 17th February during the traditional Chinese art performance, very eager to get introduced to Chinese culture.

As I get to Chukagai I noticed celebration lanterns decorating main streets. Some of them made an amazing lantern dragon. Chinatown was very crowded, you could easily feel the festive atmosphere. Shops, restaurants and fortune telling salons workers were laudly inviting customers. Enjoying the colourful streets of Chukagai I made my way to Yamashitacho Park where the art performances took place. Despite I came a little late I managed to find a space near the stage so I got quite a nice view.

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The performance start with the Shishimai – Lion Dance, which is supposed to bring good luck as lion is perceived as an auspicious animal. Lion often ‘’bites’’ participants heads to eats their bad luck and remove it from them. It is said that you will not fall sick for a whole year if you get bitten by Shishimai! I saw that they also throw sweets for good luck.
There were to Shishimai, one green and one yellow created by two performers in lion costume: the one in front became the head and front limbs, the one behind – the back and hind legs. The distinctive feauture of Chinese Shishimai is over-sized and dragon-looking head as you can often see in Chinese stone sculptures of this animal.

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Lion dance was followed by music and dance performaces. Music group was playing traditional Chinese compositions on various instruments including flute, koto and shamisen accompanied by the dance performances of young schoolgirls.

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Show was ended by the really amazing Shishimai. The dance were very acrobatic as it a lot of involved jumping, climbing and leaping. The performer in the front holding the lion’s head was lifted by the other one to make a lion stand up.

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I really enjoyed the performance! If you are not endure low temperatures like me I recommend to wear warm clothes and gloves as it got really cold after staying for one hour.

If you are making your visit in Yokohama during the February Lunar Year’s celebrations make sure to pay visit in Yokohama Chukagai!

ACCESS
There’s no admission fee for performances. You can get to Chukagai using Negishi (160 yen) or Minato Mirai Line (210 yen) from Yokohama Station.

Best regards!

 

Flora Yokohama Hoshikawa: https://www.oakhouse.jp/eng/house/kanagawa/yokohama/flora-hoshikawa

Oakhouse: https://www.oakhouse.jp/eng/

 
Date posted :
2019.02.21
Poster :
Beata

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I am an ordinary girl from small town in far away land of Poland, which tale is rather extraordinary, as no ending curiosity of the world got me to the Japanese Islands.