Happy New Year! Oakland’s Chinatown Welcomes The Year of the Snake

By Jian Di Liang

The Lunar New Year is coming, and so is The Year of the Snake. The New Year is one of the most important festivals in Chinese culture. The Street Festival held on the 2nd and 3rd of February in Oakland’s Chinatown attracted many people to consume and prepare for their celebration.

Even though the space occupied by the booths in the street festival (only two blocks this year) was much smaller than the ones we had before, it was still really crowded.

The board members of the Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce gave speeches about the great effort people have been making for Chinatown at the Asian Cultural Center. And each of them began their speech with their New Year wishes in Chinese, “Xin Nian Kuai Lei (Happy New Year),” and “Kung hei fat choi (wish people prosperity).” The audiences cheered and applauded. After the members finished speaking, they gave out lucky money to elders and children. It was really cheerful.

During The New Year celebration, couplets are very popular, as are pinwheels which symbolize luck in Chinese culture. When the pinwheels are blown, it actually rotates for good luck.

For the Chinese New Year, people decorate their homes with tangerine trees that have red envelopes – sometimes with money tucked inside – on the branches. People also buy fresh flowers, change the old New Year couplets from last year, and clean their houses for the preparation. In China, people will light firecrackers as well.

2013 is going to be a cheerful year, and I wish everyone good health and every success.


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Jian Di Liang (Charlotte) is from China. She is enthusiastic, friendly and outgoing. Meeting new people and traveling are her biggest interests.

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