In the photo: celebrating the New Year according to the lunar calendar in the House of China

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.

North San Diego String Ensemble

The North San Diego String Ensemble plays to a large crowd at a Lunar New Year celebration in Balboa Park on January 22, 2023.

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.

People for the Lunar New Year

Visitors sit and watch the North San Diego String Ensemble during the Lunar New Year Festival in Balboa Park January 22, 2023.

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.

North San Diego String Ensemble

A young musician from the North San Diego String Ensemble plays for the Lunar New Year Festival in Balboa Park on January 22, 2023.

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.

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From left to right: Daniel, Michelle, Lex, Kim and Ashley are a group of visitors enjoying the Lunar New Year celebration on January 22, 2023.

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.

puppet chinese lion

A Chinese lion puppet watches visitors pass by its booth during Lunar New Year celebrations in Balboa Park January 22, 2023.

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.

Kent Lee

San Diego City Councilman Kent Lee was seen in Balboa Park for the Lunar New Year Festival with his wife Phuong and their two children Oliver (left) and Alina (right) on January 22, 2023.

“We wish everyone good health, prosperity and good luck, especially after the pandemic,” Li said.

People for the Lunar New Year

A crowd of visitors view a menagerie of key chains and toys during the Lunar New Year festival in Balboa Park January 22, 2023.

Chris Chan, director of communications for the city council, was also delighted with the high turnout.

Chris Chan, Balboa Park

Chris Chan, director of communications for the city council, poses in front of a China House banner in Balboa Park during the Lunar New Year Festival on January 22, 2023.

“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.

SD Students Lunar New Year

From left: San Diego State University students William, Samantha, Natalie and Kendile enjoy the Lunar New Year in Balboa Park on January 22, 2023.

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.

People for the Lunar New Year

A crowd of visitors flock to food stalls in Balboa Park during the Lunar New Year festival on January 22, 2023.

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.

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A visitor enters the Chinese House during the Lunar New Year celebrations on January 22, 2023.

Inside, past a menagerie of china dolls and antiques, two volunteers asked visitors for their name before writing it down in elegant ink.

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Volunteers Mary (left) and Wei-Wei (right) write down the names of attendees in Chinese at the China House in Balboa Park on January 22, 2023.
Members of the Lunar New Year

Participants in the Lunar New Year celebration view a map of the Chinese zodiac in Balboa Park on January 22, 2023.

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.

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