The 2014 Lunar New Year, often referred to as Chinese New Year, does not officially start until Friday, but for the thousands of people who descended on Monterey Park last weekend to take part in the city’s annual two-day Lunar New Year Festival, starting early just means more opportunities to celebrate.
Unlike the regular New Year, which always starts on Jan. 1st, the start of the 15-day Lunar New Year is determined by the lunar calendar and this year it runs from Jan. 31 to Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14. It is predominately celebrated by people of Chinese descent, with the biggest celebrations in the world taking place in China, therefore the often references to Chinese New Year. But it also celebrated by other Asian groups, and non-Asians as well, so more and more groups are opting to use the Lunar New Year title to be more inclusive.
The Chinese Zodiac, known as Sheng Xiao, is based on a 12-year cycle and each year in the cycle is related to an animal sign; 2014 is the Year of the Horse. People born in the Year of the Horse are thought to be energetic, bright, cheerful and popular, but can also be hot-blooded and hard to constrain.
In Monterey Park, the Year of the Horse was kicked off with two days of live entertainment, including many cultural displays of music and dance, and a variety of other activities. Garvey Avenue, from Garfield to Alhambra was closed off to make room for stages, carnival rides and over 200 booths with vendors selling food, specialty items and cultural gifts, and organizations handing out information.
This coming weekend, more activities will take place across the county. Take a look at EGP’s Community Calendar for some of those taking place close to home.