SAN DIEGO — Little Saigon San Diego, a local non-profit, hosted its 13th San Diego Lunar New Year Festival at the Jeremy Henwood Memorial Park in City Heights.
“What do you like about Lunar New Year?” FOX 5 asked one of the children who attended.
The child answered, “it’s where we get good luck.”
“Just a time to remember ‘hey we all have each other,’ as part of celebrating our heritage and our ancestors,” said Rowena Coulin, an attendee.
The 2023 Lunar New Year Festival brought dozens of people together to celebrate a fusion of Asian cultures.
Coulin said she comes every year to teach her 8-year-old daughter about her Chinese traditions.
“It’s how I grew up, how my parents, my grandparents taught me about the importance of a basic needs family and being there to support each other,” Coulin said.
Kent Pun a member of the Hong Kongers in San Diego brought some of that support, traditionally.
“I am the ‘God of Fortune,’ and I am handing out red envelopes to give out fortunes to everybody,” Pun said.
Underneath strings of glowing lanterns, children twirled with dragon streamers. People also hung notes on one of the 20 Cherry Blossom trees.
“Something to say Happy New Year but also to wish everyone happiness and health,” Coulin said.
The Lunar New Year marks the first day of the lunar calendar.
Each year the lunar calendar is represented by one of the 12 Asian zodiac signs.
In 2023 it’s a toss-up between the ‘Year of the Rabbit or the Cat.’
“No one knows why it’s different but to me, I believe it (has to do with China which has really large fields) so the rabbit is very common (there). For the Vietnamese (people), we grow rice and the cat is beloved, the cat protects the rice,” explained Tram Lam, the president of Little Saigon San Diego.
Inclusivity was front and center with performances.
“To see the different cultures, be a part of a variety of cultures, the beautiful decorations, people are happy, it’s a fun place to be,” said Teri Chele, one of the dancers of Desert Rose, an Egyptian-style dance.
“We celebrate diversity, yes we are different, but we are all together at one, one festival, one celebration,” Lam said.
The event is free and continues Sunday, at 4455 Wightman Street from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.