Asian Cultures Celebrated on Boston Common

09/10/2016
Media: 
GLOBE CORRESPONDENT
Author: 
Nicole Fleming
CRAIG F. WALKER/GLOBE STAFF
Jerry Zhang, 6, of Malden, was startled by a lion costume during the Asian American Day celebration at the Boston Common on Saturday.
By Nicole Fleming GLOBE CORRESPONDENT  SEPTEMBER 10, 2016
A young wide-eyed child stood on a folding chair, craning over the crowd to see a team in elaborate costumes perform a traditional Chinese lion dance to drums and cymbals.
The dance, typically performed at festivals in China, was showcased at the sixth annual Asian-American Day Saturday morning on the Boston Common.
The celebration began in 2011, according to the organizing committee, with this year’s festival drawing more than 1,000 attendees.
“No matter where you go, you have to understand where you’re coming from and stick with it,” said Ji Li, an emigrant from mainland China who spent her past 16 years in the United States teaching Asian-Americans about US culture as well as Americans about Asian culture.
Casey Guan struck a tai chi pose on the grassy field, balancing motionless on one leg, as kung fu practitioners performed synchronized routines behind her.
“I love dancing!” said the 8-year-old, who takes tai chi classes. Her father, Nick Guan, said that 14 family and friends traveled from New York in three cars to attend the event.
Jason Pan, 9, left, and Kevin Huang, 11, waited to perform with the Greater Boston Asian American Youth Symphony Orchestra Saturday.
CRAIG F. WALKER/GLOBE STAFF
Jason Pan, 9, left, and Kevin Huang, 11, waited to perform with the Greater Boston Asian American Youth Symphony Orchestra Saturday.
The festival reflected a range of Asian cultures from different countries. It was a feast for the senses with arts performances and music, plus a feast for the palate with dozens of busy food vendors offering sushi, Japanese chocolates, bubble tea, and steaming hot baozi buns stuffed with juicy pork and vegetables.
Jinke Yinqing worked with a black brush and long flowing strokes, creating customized calligraphy for customers at her booth.
Yinqing began calligraphy at a young age and eventually studied it at Shanxi University in China, said Jinke Yinwei, a coworker at the booth.
“It’s a good way to cultivate your mind, your spirit, and control your mood because it takes a lot of time to learn it,” Yinwei said.
Cultural associations and legal organizations offered services at other booths.
Events like Asian-American Day offer important opportunities for Asian-American children to learn about their heritages, Li said. They “need to know their own culture and history before they learn about American culture and history,” she said.
“Asian-Americans are the fastest-growing population in Massachusetts,” state representative Tackey Chan of Quincy told the crowd from the stage. He noted that of the 160 state representatives, only five are Asian-American .
“I encourage you to register to vote, to vote, and run for office,” a representative from Governor Charlie Baker’s office said. “Years from now, many more Asian-Americans will be in the State House right behind you.”
Gary Mei, 13, played the part of Buddha during performance with the Wah Lum Kung-Fu Athletic Association Satuday.
CRAIG F. WALKER/GLOBE STAFF
Gary Mei, 13, played the part of Buddha during performance with the Wah Lum Kung-Fu Athletic Association Saturday.
6th Annual AAday
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