Books, Songs, Hollywood movie, Bollywood movie, restaurants, travel attractions… Chinatowns are literally, I repeat literally, EVERYWHERE! For a nation that topped the population chart for years, it has made its presence felt in almost in every aspect. But Chinatowns? They’re a whole different world in the different cultures blending in and yet standing out. Most cities where their shades are all subtle and grey, Chinatowns adds some colours to them. It is interesting how across one gate, there are two versions of worlds co-existing on the same street. And now that we’ve started with the gate, let us understand a little more about it.
Spot a typical Gate with Chinese Architecture, coloured in bright red, leading to a whole new world of bright colours and lively narrow lanes. That’s the portal to Chinatown in any place around this globe! These signature gates take you to a world where if you look up to the sky, there are strings of red lanterns more than the blue sky. The lively markets, the immigrants and a strong aroma of cuisines!
Chinatowns have a legacy. Some Chinatowns have generations staying in them. It all started in the trading years. All the main trading centres started getting Chinese population. Due to frequent trading and easy migrating policies, Chinese men set themselves in different places for better opportunities. The main purpose behind the settlements of Chinatowns was to provide a transitional place into a new culture. Slowly, all of it changed with time.
The immigrants are now no more limited to only Chinese. In fact, Chinese are observed to be dropping in numbers overall. Chinatowns now usually observe Vietnamese, Indians and South Asians. The neon signs, Chinese language boards, Chinese supermarkets and restaurants, and so much more now make them inseparable attributes of Chinatown.
The locals from various Asian corners come here. Their lively nature and vibrant culture make Chinatowns across the world popular tourist attractions in many itineraries. They all live with a co-existing cultural balance. It is always so lively to visit these markets, get some classic Chinatown takeaways at cheap rates or even just stroll in the narrow lively lanes. The locals here are often observed to be smiling and welcoming in nature.
Did You Know?
The Oldest Chinatown: Binondo Chinatown located in Manila, Philippines
The Largest Chinatown: Manhattan Chinatown in New York City
Chinese New Year
5th February 2019 is the Chinese New Year. During the Chinese New Year, Chinatowns across the globe just light up in a whole new spirit. More colours are added to these already colourful painting. Golden Dragon Parades are one of the most popular aspects of Chinese New Year. The traditional and cultural celebrations are often observed to be celebrated by everyone in Chinatowns. The other locals of the town outside Chinatown and even tourists enjoy the unique festive spirits. Some even travel, especially for the Chinese New Year! So, find your nearest Chinatown this 5th February and witness a whole new cultural world come to life.
Chinatowns have become an integral part of the world. In every form, it has become a part of our worldly human culture. To understand the grandeur of Chinatown, I can simply think about Woody Allen’s quote. It goes like, “I’m astounded by people who want to ‘know’ the universe when it’s hard enough to find your way around Chinatown.” Chinatown is literally everywhere and it is an experience of every kind that will stay with us till the humanity exists. Either as a part of our history or even as a part of our travel itineraries. So, next time you set your foot to explore Chinatowns, you know you are stepping into a world of Global Culture!