San Francisco’s Chinese New Year parade ushers the year of the ram


Victor Li

An elaborately decorated dragon dances its way through San Francisco.

Victor Li, Staff Writer

Lively music, vibrant colors, and exploding firecrackers sounded San Francisco’s famous Chinese New Year Parade this year. Spectators of all ages were confronted with a strong impression created by stilt walkers, lion dancers, Chinese acrobatics, martial arts groups, and school marching bands.

Apart from the parade, there were several other major Chinese New Year festivities. The parade along with the Chinese Flower Fair and Community Street Fair occurred last weekend, though the actual Lunar New Year was on February 19.

This year’s parade celebrated the year of the ram. Babies born this year are said to be artistic, charming and sweet.

Although the event expressed the deep roots of the city’s Chinese tradition, marchers of every race shared the celebration.

“It’s great to be exposed to different cultures and their holidays, but it’s also just a great parade,” said freshman Kevin Xiang.

Named one of the top ten parades in the world by the International Festivals and Events Association (IFEA), it is one of the few remaining night illuminated parades in the country.

Apart from the people from the Bay Area, recently arrived immigrants from China came to celebrate their culture.

The San Francisco Chinese New Year celebration originated in the 1860s during the Gold Rush. Since then,  it has become the largest Asian event in North America, according to SF Gate.

According to CBS Local, more than a million spectators were present during the parade. Some of which came from as far as Anaheim and Sacramento, and arrived three to four hours early for better seats.

“I’ve been going to the Chinese New Year Parade for the past three years, and it’s always amazing to see the diversity of the city who were there to celebrate,” said sophomore Clarity Chua.

Every year, after all the elaborate costumes and beautiful floats, the parade ended with the famous 268 foot-long Golden Dragon along with a firecracker grand finale.

With its immense size, the Golden Dragon took a team of 100 men and women to carry, as it winded down the streets of San Francisco as a crowd favorite.

“Rain or shine, the parade’s not something you’d want to miss. But Chinese New Year isn’t just about parades and festivals. We hope each other good fortune, longevity, and happiness,” said Chua.