Oakland’s Lunar New Year Celebrations Kicked Off this Weekend in Jack London Square, Chinatown

A black and a yellow lion dancer perform outside at Jack London Square
Lion dancers chase away evil spirits for the beginning of the new lunar year. Photo by Howard Dyckoff.

Editor’s Note: On Saturday, our correspondent Howard Dyckoff attended two Lunar New Year-related events in Oakland. The celebrations in Jack London Square and Oakland Chinatown’s bazaar were both joyful events during one of the biggest holidays for many who celebrate Lunar New Year. The next day, we heard about the terrible mass shooting that took place in Los Angeles County in Monterey Park late Saturday night. Our hearts go out to the impacted families and communities in Southern California and beyond.

Events in Jack London Square and Oakland Chinatown welcomed the Year of the Rabbit–and year of the Cat for Vietnamese people–both held on Saturday, January 21st in the afternoon at Jack London Square and the second day of the Lunar New Year Bazaar in Chinatown.

During the Jack London Square event, attendees were treated to cultural performances, including martial arts demonstrations, lion dances, and youth dance groups.

A human-sized rabbit character posed for selfies with visitors in front of a color Year of the Rabbit backdrop.

The Xiaopei Chinese dance studio brought its students from Livermore. The studio will also participate in the SF Chinese New Year Parade on February 4. Martial artists from the Jing Mo Athletic Association displayed their skills.

There was a craft booth, where children could make a rabbit crown.

Around the same time, a stage and bazaar was set up in Chinatown, with sweet roasted chestnuts and other snacks for sale, and many vendors sold new year decorations.

A Lunar New Year parade is planned for this Saturday, January 29 starting at the newly renamed Wilma Chan Park (formerly Madison Park) in Oakland.

A martial arts performance by the Jing Mo Athletic Association, which also performed the lion dance. Photo by Howard Dyckoff.
Performances by the Xiaopei Dance Studio in the Jack London Square Plaza. Photo by Howard Dyckoff.
A photo backdrop to usher in the Year of the Rabbit. Photo by Howard Dyckoff.
Chinatown booths were filled with decorations showing cute rabbit designs to symbolize the new year of the rabbit. Photo by Howard Dyckoff.
Red envelopes sold at the Lunar New Year Bazaar in Chinatown. Photo by Howard Dyckoff.
Visitors to Oakland’s Chinatown Lunar New Year Bazaar wait in line to buy roasted chestnuts. Photo by Howard Dyckoff.
Author Profile

Howard Dyckoff has lived in Oakland for over 40 years and has been involved with many community groups, including Oakland Digital and Oakland Local, Block by Block, the East Oakland Boxing Association (EOBA), and CBE. A Brooklyn, New York, transplant, and an Aerospace Engineering graduate of NY Polytechnic, Howard also attended Laney College, where he wrote for the Laney Tower newspaper and was elected editor. Howard also attended the Starr King School at the Theological Union in Berkeley.

He has served as the Berkeley Free Clinic’s Outreach Coordinator, and also worked as an information technology professional at Chevron, Sybase, and Wells Fargo. He worked in both the 2010 and 2020 Census. Howard has been a regular contributor to Oakland Local and online publications such as TechTarget and Linux Gazette and currently writes for Oakland Voices. He currently does event photography and portraiture around the Bay Area.

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