Pops from the little crackerpop thingies that you throw to the ground. Drumming and cymbals in a familiar pattern made for dragon dances. Intermittent cheering, and constant drum rhythms from the Korean drummers. Chatter, excitement. The cheerleaders of the marching band ahead of us vocalizing to the beat of their drumline cadence. And the hollow plunk of the double-sided Chinese mini-kettle drums that have a bead attached at the end of a red string on either end, so when you spin it back and forth, the beads hit the head of the drum, creaking a plunking sound. We had about 30 or 40 of those too. So many sounds today at the Chinatown Chinese New Year Parade. Chinese New Year is the epitome of “renau” in any Chinese-based society. Even those of us not born in China (or Asia) still celebrate, still keep up the tradition, and for a few days, we stop minding the constant sounds that are based in the celebration of the Spring Festival. I’m a volunteer for API Equality LA, which is an Asian Pacific Islander community group for marriage equality. And we had the largest group today in the Chinatown Chinese New Year parade. Another member of the group mentioned that this parade is better for us to do than Pride, because at Pride, we’re preaching to the choir, whereas in Chinatown, we face some of the people who are most inhospitable to the idea of gay rights. Which is why, whenever we heard an intermittent roar of cheers, it was rejuvenating. We had supporters in the crowd! And really, it wasn’t all that intermittent. Even though it was hot, and most of us were dehydrated by the end of it, it was so much fun.