By Lucas Almeida
The perfomers practice arduously for weeks and perform all year round to make the San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade on Feb. 11 an unforgettable beginning to the Year of the Dragon.
Named one of the world’s top 10 parades by the International Festival & Events Association, the Chinese New Year Parade in San Francisco is the largest celebrations of its kind outside of Asia.
The Parade celebrates the beginning of a new year according to the Lunar calendar, which is used by billions of people throughout Asia.
In Chinese culture, dragons are mythological creatures who control elements such as water, and are said to represent power, strength, and good luck.
Over 100 teams will take part this years festivities.
Dragon Dance Team
The Dragon Dance Team from Mills High School, is one of the teams participating in this year’s parade. Passionate about her culture, senior Jessica Lan from Mills High School joined the team four years ago.
“I first joined because it looked cool,” Lan said. “It’s important for me because I could also connect to my culture. Joining the Dragon team makes me proud of my culture.”
She encourages those who have never attended the parade before to go and experience the fun.
“It’s fun to see all the performances,” Lan added. “We work really hard to provide this one day of performance.”
Lan suggested the best place to watch the parade is in front of Macy’s at Union Square.
Lion Dancing Troupe
Another traditional unit attending the parade is the West Coast Lion Dancing Troupe from Daly City. They have been regular performers in the parade every year since 1988, and took home a second place award in a lion dancing competition in 1990.
The troupe’s leader and founder, Tony Shiu said the main goal of the West Coast Lion Dance troupe is to pass on the traditional art of Chinese lion dancing, performing in the parade is the best opportunity to share these traditions and embrace the culture.
“It’s the highlight of our year, we perform all year around and we practice weekly until the Chinese New Year Parade, where it allows us to show our culture to others races and this custom of ours,” Shiu said.
The parade begins at 5:30 p.m at Second and Market streets, following Geary to Union Square, Post to Kearny streets and finally dispersing at Columbus avenue .
If you can’t make the parade in person, tune in to watch it on KTVU Fox 2 or KTSF Channel 26, 6-8 p.m Saturday, February 11.