Chinatown’s Lantern Festival Returns to Boston in September

Lion dance in Chinatown, Boston during Chinese New Year

A popular attraction for both tourists and locals, Boston’s Chinatown offers plenty of opportunity for enjoying Chinese culture and cuisine. With many events taking place in the neighborhood throughout the year, Chinatown is a great place to spend a day or a weekend. Of the many activities offered in the neighborhood, the Chinatown Lantern Festival is easily one of the most popular.

Exploring the Chinatown Lantern Festival

Taking place on Saturday, September 10th from 10:00 am until 6:00 pm, the Chinatown Lantern Festival features festivities, lion dances, martial arts demonstrations, games, folk dances and special mooncakes in celebration of the traditional Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival.

Lantern Festival activities will take place in areas throughout the neighborhood, with many taking place in the Chinatown Park on the Rose Kennedy Greenway. Located at the southern end of the Greenway and designed by Carol R. Johnson and Associates, Chinatown Park is a one-acre linear park containing elements that were drawn from Asian traditions and artwork. Some of the park’s features include a serpentine walkway edged by bamboo, a unique fountain that suggests a waterfall and shallow riverbed, and bright red sculptural elements.

The park also features a section of pavement that was designed by California artist May Sun. Patterned after a Chinese chessboard, the square within the circle pattern symbolizes heaven and earth in the Chinese culture. A “river” of stainless steel and colored concrete depicting a map of Boston with a focus on Chinatown runs through the center of the chessboard.

In addition to the sculptural elements found in Chinatown Park, the park also boasts beautiful landscape inspired by the Asian culture. Flowers found in the park include chrysanthemums, cherry trees, irises, rhododendrons and peonies. Bamboo, grasses and trees also provide year-round texture and structure to the park’s landscape. A number of Chinese restaurants are also located nearby, while the Chinese version of chess, called Xianggi, is set up on the tables. A temporary public art exhibit called Monkey See, which was installed in June in front of the modern red gate at Essex Street, will also be on display throughout the summer.

Sampling Chinese Cuisine

While in Chinatown, be sure to stop in at one of the neighborhood’s many great restaurants. Some popular choices in the neighborhood include:

  • Q Restaurant – Offers three different menus: Mongolian-style hot pot, sushi/makimono/sashimi and Chinese
  • Shojo – Contemporary Asian Fusion
  • Bubor Cha Cha – Southern Chinese cuisine with an emphasis on Hong Kong, Cantonese and Hainanese dishes
  • East Ocean City – Features a menu with hundreds of options.
  • Gourmet Dumpling House – Offers a variety of Taiwanese specialties.

The New England National Lion Dance Competition

The New England National Lion Dance Competition will also be taking place later this year in Chinatown. Sponsored by Southeast Asian Coalition of Worcester and Boston Chinatown Main Street, the event has taken place in Chinatown for the past four years. This year’s event will be held on November 19th and 20th at the Josiah Quincy Community School and The Empire Garden Restaurant. The competition is open to those who are 21-years-old or younger.

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