Soumadri Chowdhury explores Chinese New Year celebrations in his native Kolkata following tense Indo-Chinese relations.
As we spend the days at home, locked down in uncertainty, we get time to introspect on the days that have gone by, and one such significant memory is my first-hand experience of the cultural diversity and inclusive nature of my city, Kolkata.
With the rising tensions across the border and the Indo-China relations turning sour, the Chinese settlements in Kolkata are also facing fearful times under such situation. They are now citizens of this country, intertwining the local cultures and lives with their own, they are all a part of us. Over the years, the city has heartily accepted all cultures and faiths and turned out into a huge conglomerate of unique cultures and festivals. Hence this photo story is to look back at the good times, the times of being together in harmony.
As a citizen of this city, intrigued by the uniqueness, this year I decided to make a photo story on the Chinese New Year celebrations held in the Chinese settlements of Kolkata. On the eve of the Lunar New year, the Chinese settlements in Kolkata get decked up in string lights, red lanterns and traditional decorations. The locals gather on the streets, dressed in bright dresses, filled with glee and usher in the New Year with pomp and splendor.
Before the clock strikes midnight, the people gather in the temples and churches, indulging in music and celebrations, bursting firecrackers and have a merry time. The next morning sees the main part of the festivities. The people from the community gather at the temples to seek blessings for a prosperous year ahead. As the sound of the cymbals and the tanggu (Chinese drums) intensifies, a hefty number of on-lookers and people gather around to join in the festivities. A number of processions by different clubs start from here, going around the neighbourhood, visiting the local temples, churches and residences. The otherwise mundane streets brighten up with activity and joy, people of all ages and kind come down to be a part of the festivities.
A number of processions by different clubs start from here, going around the neighbourhood, visiting the local temples, churches and residences. The otherwise mundane streets brighten up with activity and joy, people of all ages and kind come down to be a part of the festivities.
The procession gradually makes its way through the bylanes, stopping at residences to collect blessings and rewards. An integral part of the procession are the lions and dragons, the young people who wear a traditional mask with another carrying the long flowing costume.