Lions, dogs, and dragons danced this past month in San Diego for the celebration of Chinese New Year.
Every year celebrations across the world take place surrounding the first new moon of the lunisolar calendar year and lasts for two weeks. Worldwide it has commonly come to be known as Chinese New Year or the Spring Festival.
Chinese New Year goes for two weeks, and officially started Feb 16. The city of San Diego has been no exception, with multiple events culminating into a two-day celebration with the 36th annual San Diego Chinese New Year Fair. The celebration took place Feb. 24 and Feb. 25 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and comprises of one main stage on 3rd street and a children’s stage on J street.
One of the highlights of the main stage events were both northern style Lucky Lion Dancers and southern style Southern Sea Kung Seng Keng Lion & Dragon Dance Association dancers who each danced the full length of the fair multiple times.
In the morning before, the Lucky Lion Dancers began their procession. Wayne Huey of Red Panda Acrobat performed on the main stage demonstrating barrel squeezing, juggling, and balancing acts.
“Like any other culture it’s talking about its traditions, its culture, and what we do in the Asian community. This is what it’s allabout,” Huey spoke in regards to what the attendees could learn from Chinese New Year, ”so that to me is really important to share with people from all walks of life.”
Blue and white pop-up tents offered a variety of food vendors where Chinese, Filipino, and Japanese food could be found. The merchandise found at the event also offered a myriad of cultural goods and even included a vendor where you could buy outfits for your pets to wear to ring in the new year.
Amongst the booths available was the San Diego Police Department whose command staff came out to participate in the opening ceremony. “It’s a good for the community to see the police officers are involved and we care and people can come up and ask us questions,“ spoke Police Sergeant Johnathan Lowe who stood at the booth, “San Diego Police Department is very community oriented in terms of the community oriented policing model.”
Lowe is also half Chinese and part of one of the lion dance groups that performed during the fair. “That’s just part of my heritage personally so I like working the event because it means something to me and my family, and I just like interacting with people all the time.”
The takeaway was positive for attendee Patricia Penner, “I would say joy in celebrating the new year and seeing how a culture expresses their joy for the new year and I think that’s what I feel.”
One of the common themes for the San Diego Chinese New Year fair was diversity seen through the eyes of not only performers like Wayne Huey or such as Johnathan Lowe but attendees such as Penner “a lot of diversity here, different people different backgrounds coming together and enjoying this. I love it, I love it.”
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