Lunar New Year is the most important festival for many cultures in East and Southeast Asia. It is based on the lunisolar calendar and usually occurs in late January or February. Since its origins thousands of years ago, the festival has grown into a global phenomenon of fireworks, parades, and red envelopes stuffed with money as tokens of good fortune. It's also a time to reflect on the past year and start anew.
For the Asian diaspora, marking the important day is a way to feel connected to family and loved ones far away. In Dorchester, Mass., where a sizable Vietnamese American community lives, a Buddhist cultural center becomes the place for people to gather, celebrate, and honor tradition.
This year, on the eve of the Year of the Pig, the evening began with prayer to the Buddha, followed by a feast. The high point was the lion dance, where members of a Kung Fu academy performed impressive acrobatic feats while revelers got swept up in the festive mood by the rhythms of a band consisting of gongs, Chinese cymbals, and a tanggu drum. Absorbed by the lions’ movements and resounding brass, it matters less to everyone within the four walls where they are, but who they are with.
Click on the photo below to see the complete gallery of images from the Boston Buddhist Cultural Center Lunar New Year celebrations.