Chinadaily / Tens of thousands of residents from the local Chinese community in San Francisco and tourists packed a small downtown street for the dragon dance that would herald the celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year.
The celebration of the Year of the Dog in Chinese culture, which falls on Feb 16, began on Saturday with a mini-procession that included lion dancers, giant walking puppets, costumed stilt walkers and drummers.
The drumming performance excited the audience on both sides of the 400-meterlong street decorated in traditional bright red that symbolizes happiness in Chinese culture.
Their faces glowing, the revelers bustled among the more than 120 street stalls at the Flower Market Fair, which featured fresh flowers, tangerines and sweets.
The Flower Market Fair, which is usually held on the weekend before Spring Festival, is where local residents and tourists flock to purchase fresh flowers, fruits, candy and supplies.
It also offers an opportunity for locals and visitors to enjoy performances by traditional Chinese magicians, acrobats and folk dancers.
Mike Tony, a native San Franciscan, says he attends the Chinatown celebrations every year to enjoy the Lunar New Year festivities.
He says he learned about China in recent years through the internet, and admires its progress.
“I’m hoping to go to China sometime in the future,” he says.
May Huang, an 18-year-old high school student, who is wearing a trademark bright red costume to portray the “Goddess of Wealth”, distributes free red rolled-calendars with a huge portrait of the God of Wealth along the street.
“In traditional Chinese culture there is only a God of Wealth, but you have to call me ‘Goddess of Wealth’ because I’m a girl,” she says.
She says she migrated to the United States 13 years ago, and has attended the market fair every year.
“The Goddess of Wealth brings good fortune to the Chinese, especially at Spring Festival,” says Huang.
“The atmosphere of festival warms your heart and electrifies your senses,” she adds.
This year’s celebrations also featured a mini-parade sponsored by Southwest Airlines.