For many Asian cultures, the Lunar New Year is a time of auspicious celebration. It is at this time that many welcome the arrival of spring by organizing family gatherings, parades and fireworks. And for those who follow the Chinese zodiac, Sunday marked the end of the Year of the Tiger and the beginning of the Year of the Rabbit.
This weekend at Balboa Park, San Diego’s China House celebrated the Lunar New Year (or Spring Festival) with joyful pomp and circumstances adorned with gold and red, symbolizing prosperity and good fortune.
The North San Diego String Ensemble performed a variety of holiday songs to symbolize the coming of the new year—songs of renewal, spring, and hope.
The event, which took place on Saturday and Sunday, was filled with smiling attendees who will continue to celebrate for the next 15 days until the Lantern Festival, which marks the end of the Lunar New Year, on February 5th.
For the second year since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, participants have gathered in one place to celebrate this event. For many, it was a sigh of relief when they were able to come together and reunite with loved ones.
The event was attended by San Diego City Council member Kent Lee and his family. Lee shared how great it was to participate and be surrounded by community members from all over the area.
“We wish everyone good health, prosperity and good luck, especially after the pandemic,” Li said.
Chris Chan, director of communications for the city council, was also delighted with the high turnout.
“It’s great to see the community coming out,” he said. “The Asian community was worried about COVID… but I’m glad to see that we were able to celebrate together.”
The young attendees beamed with enthusiasm and showed their love for the holiday by dressing in red. Natalie, a student at San Diego State University, said “it’s fun” and interesting to get back to some semblance of normal personal experiences.
Some patrons were still wary of the crowd, but that didn’t stop them from walking past just to smell the braised pork or the sweet taste of bean tea.
One of the highlights of the event was the China House, where volunteers wrote the names of arriving visitors in Chinese using traditional calligraphy brushes.
Inside, past a menagerie of china dolls and antiques, two volunteers asked visitors for their name before writing it down in elegant ink.
When the event came to an end, firecrackers crackled and the children laughed. And when the visitors began to disperse, the kids gathered around the stage to celebrate the New Year and celebrate the year of the Rabbit with one rabbit jump. The event organizers’ final message was to stay healthy, stay happy and have a prosperous new year.