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Vintage Photos Of Chinatown's Vibrant Lunar New Year Parades

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Today is the first day of the Lunar New Year, making it official the year of the ram. Or the goat, or the sheep, depending on who you ask. Saturday marks the annual Golden Dragon Parade, which has been going on in Los Angeles for 115 years.

The Lunar New Year parade in Los Angeles, known as the Golden Dragon Parade, began in 1898. These photos date back at least as far back as 1931. (Some years are unknown, but appear to be taken from the 1930s also.) In them, you can see the traditional lion and dragon dances being performed, as well as a shot of Miss Chinatown with the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, who took over the parade in 1956. The Chamber also helped acquire new dragonheads from Hong Kong in '56. The dragon is over 100 feet long, requires 25 dancers to move, and its length can be seen in the aerial shots. Also, the parade used to take place on Friday night, but was eventually moved to Saturday during the day to increase community participation.

This year's Golden Dragon Parade will be held in Chinatown on Saturday starting at 1 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. You can take the Metro Gold Line to avoid worrying about parking, then slurp up some noodles and wash them down with a beer at our favorite Chinatown watering hole, Melody Lounge. Check out our guide to Chinatown here.

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