Jeremy C. Fox for Boston.com
Is it really almost 4711 already?
It is for billions of people across East Asia and the rest of the world who use the traditional Chinese calendar, and Bostonís Chinatown is gearing up for its annual celebration.
Chinatown Main Street and the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association announced Wednesday that they would welcome the Year of the Snake with a lion dance parade and other activities on Sunday, Feb. 17.
Two-person ďlionsĒ sponsored by local martial arts clubs will perform for spectators in Chinatown's Phillips Square, at the intersection of Harrison Avenue and Essex Street, and then visit local businesses to bring them good luck.
The festivities will begin at 10 a.m. and continue through the afternoon.
In the lion dance, performers costumed as the big cats gyrate to ward off evil spirits, which Chinese custom says move in straight line and are confused by complex movements. They also symbolically devour heads of lettuce, representing health and long life, and oranges, representing wealth.
For the second year in a row, East West Bank will host a Cultural Village in its community room at 68 Harrison Ave., just south of the main stage. It will include Chinese calligraphy, dough sculpture, and other arts and crafts projects.
Corporate sponsors for the parade include Foxwoods Casino, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, and East West Bank.
For a gallery of images from last yearís parade, click here.