The Chinese have been trading with India for centuries and it was no surprise when one Chinese trader decided to set shop right near the city. With the establishment of a sugar processing plant, Tong Achew unknowingly sowed a seed for his community to call this country their home. Even though the sugar processing factory had a short life but that paved the opportunity for the Chinese to come to Calcutta in search of a better living.Continue reading “Chinese Temples and Churches of Kolkata”
Calcutta in the 1800 and early 1900 was like the Shanghai and Singapore combined together. It was a major trading hub and people of the world came to this city for trade and commerce. Kolkata once had a significant Chinese population and even though it has drastically decreased over the years its presence still is very much felt across the city.Continue reading “Chinese New Year in Kolkata”
One of the aspects of being a blogger from India is that you will inevitably get many phone calls from readers and many of them not necessarily be knowing the subject matter with which to converse with you. I have received calls from readers who actually wanted to install an electric crematorium in their village in some remote corner of Bangladesh and after reading my blog on Christian Gas Crematorium of Calcutta they assumed me to be a gas crematorium supplier. The best would be people mistaking me as a food truck manufacturer after reading my blog on food trucks in the city. I am assuming that they don’t read the blog in full and just after reading the name of the blog they search for my contact details to get in touch with me.
The same however has actually been very productive for my blog on Lion Dance and on Graffiti in the city. In both cases, I have been able to help the person whom I had written the blog get some contracts which in return has made me get very close to them and thus a different bond of friendship have developed over the years.
I still remember the day I got a call from BBC Worldwide Entertainment on behalf of Colors TV for a reality show named India Banega Manch. This television show will involve multiple cities where some teams will perform cultural activities from the city and depending on the response of the audience the teams will be voted to the next level. For my city of Kolkata, the television channel wanted Lion Dance team to perform during their auditions in Kolkata. Apparently, they had read my blog and wanted to feature them for my city since Kolkata is having such a diversity of culture Lion Dance will fit perfectly.
For a moment if you close your eyes and just listen to the story then it would just seem to like a Bollywood movie plot. A poet and an accomplished statesman who was once close to the king and considered as one of his favorites being banished from the kingdom. The kingdom suffers a loss in the hand of its enemies, unable to take the burden of exile and the defeat of his kingdom the poet commits suicide by jumping into a river.Continue reading “Dragon Boat Festival”
Every Chinese New Year the city of Kolkata gears up to an extravaganza which can hardly be described with words and can only be witnessed by seeing with your own eyes. This city is lucky to have a good number of Chinese families who call City of Joy their home. Most of us are aware of the many Chinese restaurants, shoe shops, beauty parlour or dry cleaning shops that dot the city streets are managed and run by the Indian Chinese community.
During Chinese New Year the streets around Tangra (New Chinatown) and Tiretti Bazar (Old Chinatown) start resonating to the sounds of drums and the footsteps of the Lion Dancers. Managed by different groups they roam from house to house performing the famous lion dance. Each house hangs a bunch of lettuce leaves at a height which the lions must grab and throw back at the occupants of the house as blessings. The lions in return receive red envelopes with money known as Hong Bao.Continue reading “Lion Dancers of Kolkata”
Within the first few days of 2016 I received a good news from my friend Robert about the Chinese community in Kolkata celebrating the Chinese New Year 2016 with a Lion Dance Festival. Previously I had seen lion dance at the Elder’s Day celebration but to see it in an open platform would be something really different. This would also mean that for the first time I would be attending this Lion Dance festival in the first place.
The event was slated for 31st of January 2016 and exactly two days before the event I get a confirmation message from Indian Chinese Association (ICA) that I have been selected as one of their official photographer and blogger. This privilege entitles me to access the main stage at a closer range thus ensuring the best possible angles for photographing the acts.Continue reading “Chinese Lion Dance Show in Kolkata”