This past weekend, Reading Terminal Market helped kick off the Chinese New Year.
Located on 12th and Filbert Street in Center City, the market hosted an afternoon of activities and cultural events last Saturday for the public to partake in. Managers said they expected close to 30,000 patrons to visit the market.
The afternoon consisted of events such as a dumpling making demonstration and Chinese Tea sampling. The highlight of the afternoon, however, was the traditional Lions Dance that weaved its way through the market.
Approximately 15 members of the Philadelphia Suns took part in the dance. The Suns are an organization within the Chinese community that seeks to promote and organize opportunities to support youth within Philadelphia. With their costumes bearing bright, festive gold, the dance is intended to ward off evil spirits and bring in happiness and longevity for the New Year. For 20 minutes, spectators gathered and followed the dance through the different isles of the market.
The festivities were put on by the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation. The PCDC defends the community from city development that might endanger Chinatown’s survival, and promotes its cultural roots. The event was part of Reading Terminal Market’s quest to build a better relationship with neighboring Chinatown community.
“We’ve been doing a lot of getting the word out around the Chinese New Year event,” said Reading Terminal General Manager Anuj Gupta. “We hope to see folks on top of that.”
Amongst the vast diversity that can be found in the market, citizens were excited to be part of the cultural celebration. Lynette Chen, owner of The Tea Leaf, was excited the event put the Chinese culture on display.
“It will be great to promote the Chinese culture here in the market, being close to Chinatown…They should do multiple events like this to promote multicultural events.”
The New Year was officially rung in on Jan. 8. Chinatown set off a colorful fireworks display at midnight, and the Philadelphia Suns once again were on center stage, parading and performing through the streets of Chinatown.