Los Angeles might have the worst traffic jams in the country, or I might even guess in the entire Western Hemisphere, but one great thing about living in a city with millions of people from all corners of the planet is that we are exposed 24 hours a day to their culture, food and entertainment. Chinatown is no exception. Park one Saturday afternoon in the side streets of LA’s version of Chinatown and you might feel as if you have been transported to another place altogether. Plots of land well kept, with fruits and other trees growing in places that others would ignore, smells from another continent fill the air as people cook, a buddhist temple sits in the distance and is a sight to behold. ;
Walk a little further and you are on Broadway, their version of Main Street, and you can find everything there. Little shops that sell good luck bamboo trees, turtles and even fireworks on the hush hush. Chinatown is the place you go to talk to a lady that can fix any ailment you have with the correct conception of herbs, leaves and other roots. The food is amazing and the entire neighborhood is as unique and vibrant as it gets.
The Golden Dragon Parade is an event that has been going on since the turn of the century and has been a great way for the Chinese community to unite and celebrate.
Here is a short history of how the parade came about, as explained by the website http://www.lagoldendragonparade.com/Event.html
“Over one hundred years ago, the Chinese community began to participate in the parade of the City of Los Angeles. In 1898, the Chinese lion and dragon procession were regarded as one of the most beautiful unit in the City’s Annual La Fiesta Parade. With this initial participation in the parade, the Chinese community was applauded for its contribution to the celebration. The Fiesta committee immediately requested that the Chinese community permanently join in this annual event. During these early years, the Chinese Merchants Association organized and sponsored the lion dance procession, in addition to one or two parade floats. At one point the organization also arranged for the use of a dragon from the Chinese community in Marysville, California. Eventually, they raised $1,500 to acquire a dragon that required 25 men to maneuver. Their units were always considered the main attraction of the Fiesta Parade and had always drawn a very enthusiastic and excited crowd.”
In the 1970’s, actor and martial arts master Bruce Lee was the Grand Marshal of the parade.
The parade originally took place on Friday nights but was changed to Saturday afternoons to allow for greater community participation. We now draw over 110,000 anxious spectators each year along North Broadway in Los Angeles’ Chinatown! Financial support for the parade included fundraising dinners and door-to-door solicitations to gather support from the Chinatown business community.
After the Vietnam War in 1975, Indo-Chinese refugees poured into the United States and soon became active in our community. Local family associations, Buddhist temples, and community-based organizations mushroomed and the parade became a focal point for community participation.