Chinese New Year celebration is a fifteen daylong celebration heralding the advent of a New Year and bidding adieu to the old one. This celebration is also known as the spring celebration.
This is the biggest festival in the Chinese culture being celebrated since five thousand years. Chinese people from all over the world assemble to celebrate this auspicious occasion and take part in various traditional activities along with family and friends.
This is a celebration which has over the years started being celebrated all over the world in various other cities, wherever there are expatriates. Thus, San Francisco too is not an exception. San Francisco situated in Northern California famous for its Golden Gate Bridge, Victorian houses cable cars; is one of the major cities where the Chinese New Year is celebrated with a whole lot of fervor and fanfare.
The Chinese New Year celebration originated way back in the 1860 s during the period of the Gold Rush, when immigrants from China came to the United States trying to look for work. The Gold Rush continued and the expatriates Chinese decided to stay back and build up a large Chinatown community in San Francisco. The first time that this celebration was held, the organizers decided to include the traditions of both their motherland and the adopted land.
Thus, they decided to have a huge colorful parade, which has not been a part of the main Chinese festival at that time. Over the years, this celebration has become the largest Asian event in the entire Northern America.
The grand Chinese New Year celebration includes two major fairs – the Chinese New Year Flower fair and the Chinatown Community Street Fair which then reaches a spectacular climax in the Chinese New Year parade. Let us have a quick look at the celebrations in store.
Chinese New Year Flower Fair – The Chinese New Year Flower Fair is held in the open air in the heart of Chinatown. One can buy beautiful fresh flowers, plants, fruits and various types of candies.
Chinatown Community Street Fair – The Chinatown Community Street fair is held in the streets of Chinatown, in Grant Avenue from California to Broadway, Sacramento, Washington, and Jackson in Pacific between Stockton and Kearney. This Community Fair includes some traditional dancing, drumming and lot of acrobatics. One can discover the beautiful fine art of Calligraphy. The spectacular and extremely acrobatic Lion Dance is also performed here. For the so inclines, there is also Fortune telling.
Miss Chinatown – The pageant of Miss Chinatown is held at the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre in the Marina.
Miss Chinatown Coronation Ball – Miss Chinatown Coronation Ball is a black tie dinner and dance occasion which sees the crowning of the new Miss Chinatown and her court. This event is held in the Hilton San Francisco Union Square.
Basketball Jamboree – The basketball jamboree is held at the premises of the Betty Ann Ong Chinese Recreation Center in Chinatown on the Mason and Washington Streets.
Chinatown YMCA Run- The Chinatown YMCA Run begins in the morning at Sacramento and Grant Streets. The enthusiastic runners run through Chinatown, the Embarcadero, North Beach, Downtown and finishes off the run again in Chinatown.
Chinese New Year Parade – The Chinese New Year parade is counted as amongst one of the world’s top ten parades. The Chinese New Year parade held in San Francisco is the largest celebration in this type outside Asia. This celebration and this parade are in fact one of the largest in the world and almost three million people watch this parade every year. More than almost hundreds of parade entries see participants with colorful flags and lanterns marching in the sound of drums. This Chinese New Year Parade is the only one that can boast of colorful gorgeous floats, beautiful and elaborate costumes, colorful and ferocious lions and loud sounding exploding firecrackers. Amongst the gorgeous floats, the largest and the best is the twenty eight foot golden dragon. The operation of this Golden Dragon takes almost more than hundred people to make it work and walk through the streets of San Francisco. Couple of amazing parade highlights include intricately and elaborately decorated floats, the various school marching bands, highly skilled martial arts group, the acrobatic and graceful lion dancers, the Chinese acrobats, the Miss Chinatown –USA , gloriously golden Dragon and many more. The Golden Dragon is huge and spectacular, with a length of two hundred and one feet, it is easily the showstopper and comes at almost the end of the parade as a showstopper; and is accompanied by over almost six million noisy fire crackers.
The Golden Dragon is a spectacular sight in itself. It was made in a small town in China called Foshan. The dragon masters of this small town, previously used to make all the costumes for the famous Cantonese Opera, and thus it is of little wonder that the Golden Dragon has many an operatic touch to boast about like the rainbow colored interesting pompoms on its six foot long head. From the nose till the tail it is festooned with bright colored lights, silver rivets adorn both the scaly sides of this dragon and the trimming is in white colored rabbit fur. This huge Dragon divided into twenty nine segments is made on a skeleton made out of bamboos and rattan. As mentioned earlier, it takes about more than a hundred people to carry this monumental piece of art, and is in no way to be missed.
This New Year Parade can be watched either in person or via a local San Francisco channel. In case of requirement in hotel reservations, it is advisable to book a hotel as this period sees an onslaught of people visiting this beautiful bay area to see a spectacular Chinese New Year celebration.
Thus come to San Francisco during the Chinese New Year for a spectacular experience!
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