The corner of Alameda and Federal was packed with people, flowers and dragons on January 22 to mark the beginning of the Lunar New Year. Whether it’s called Chinese New Year in Chinese culture, Seollal in Korean culture or Tết in Vietnamese culture, it’s always a joyful time. This is the Year of the Rabbit based on the Chinese zodiac signs and should be full of peace and prosperity. Those born in the Year of the Rabbit are said to experience good fortune and patience.
“The Year of the Rabbit is going to be full of good luck, good health, and prosperity and, you know rabbits are a little curious. So we’re gonna have like little curious bits here and there throughout the year,” said Mimi Luong of Truong An Gifts.
The Far East Center has been hosting Lunar New Year’s festivities for a decade. Many who gathered to celebrate were buying last minute decorations and red envelopes at the gift shops, or getting food from the restaurants.
China Jade Seafood Restaurant, one of the eateries in the Far East Center, said pho and dim sum were flying off the tables. Many were dressed in their traditional clothing for the celebrations, and were taking photos and enjoying family time. Those who were born in the Year of the Rabbit received a gift from Truong An Gifts. So did children who said happy new year or Kung Hei Fat Choy.
Luong said “I feel that Lunar New Year celebrated at the Far East Center has been a cultural event passed down from my parents, and that we are able to share our culture with the community and let them know our traditions on how we celebrate with line dances, cultural performances, the different types of foods that restaurants are serving. Just to share with everyone our culture.”
During the celebrations Lion dancers performed. The lion dancers are used during new year celebrations to bring good luck and help drive away evil spirts with the help of fireworks. Children and family’s alike fed them red envelopes with money to bring good luck.
“I love to see how diverse our community is, just come to learn our holiday our tradition. And if you can look around in the shop you can see how diverse this community is. And it’s great that everyone wants to learn what Lunar New Year is about and how we celebrate.”
With Lunar New Year celebrations being held all over Denver it is hard to ignore the tragic events that happened in Los Angeles when a gunman killed 11 people and injured 9 others at a dance hall in Monterey Park. In a statement posted on its social media site, Far East Center said, “In light of what happened in Southern California we send our prayers to everyone there and we hope to continue to be a light to our community by sharing happiness and joy this Lunar New Year. Today we celebrated with our friends, family, and customers. Thank you to everyone that came out to celebrate with us today.”
If you missed the celebration, Far east Center has another one with lion dancers, cultural performances, and vendors on January 28th and 29th.