Chinese New Year is Cultural Celebration

Photo by: Ram Reyes

The Gumyo Taiko Drummers perform during the 15th Annual Chinese New Year in Fresno’s Chinatown on March 7, 2015.

Story By: Chueyee Yang, Reporter

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Hundreds gathered for the 15th annual Chinese New Year Parade and Festival in downtown Fresno’s Chinatown on Saturday.

Chinatown Revitalization Inc. hosted an event that allowed the community to come together and celebrate the year of the ram.

The nonprofit organization, Chinatown Revitalization Inc. was founded in 1994 and enables the community to experience the historic values of Fresno’s Chinatown.

“I think that it [15th annual Chinese New Year Parade and Festival] benefits the community because it brings all types of people together as one,” says Suzette Freeman, Fresno City College Student Activities aide.

The event started at 10 a.m., lasting until 3 p.m., allowing visitors to participate in engaging activities such as games, raffles and more.

Food vendors varied from Chinese cuisine to Colombian cuisine, which revealed the wide diversity in the community.

The other vendors present were Fresno State’s Hmong Student Association, Politi Branch Library, The Hoot Nest, and more.

During the festival, kids were able to participate in free activities at The Hoot Nest booth. Activities such as arts and craft projects were available for kids.

Although the event is for the celebration of the Chinese New Year, visitors were able to experience and learn about a variety of cultures during the hour long parade.

“I think that it’s an amazing experience to be able to learn about other cultures,” said Freeman.

The parade showcased over 20 floats, a car show from Cars and Coffee Fresno, an appearance from Chinatown Revitalization Inc.’s founder, Kathy Omachi and live performances.

With the striking beats from the drums, Fresno Gumyo Taiko performed a four-song set and gave listeners access to hearing music from Japanese drums.

As two lions were showcased during the traditional lion dance, John Cho Lion Dance Team completed the lion dance to cast away evil spirits and to bring good luck.

The dance performances continued as Halau Hula I Ka La [Hula School in the Sun] performed a traditional Hawaiian hula dance while additional performances were from Los Ninos Azteca and Purposed II Praise School of Dance.

Accompanied by drums, cymbals and firecrackers, lion dancers entered nearby restaurants, blessing them with good luck after the completion of the parade.

Janet Claassen, Politi Branch Library representative, says the event “celebrates the diversity of our community,” and “the wonderful contributions made by the Chinese community of Fresno. “I think that it’s a chance to celebrate our life here,” said Claassen.

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