萬事如意 May all your wishes be fulfilled in the Year of the Serpent!
Since the beginning of Chinese immigration to America in the 1800s, Chinese Americans have been seeking ways to combine their two cultures. This is most evident during the Spring Festival or Chinese New Year celebrations seen around the United States.
Chinese New Year’s or the Spring Festival is the most important holiday on the mainland of China, because of this is it celebrated in all the expat communities of Chinese around the world. In the 1800s, as the Chinese began to immigrate to America these celebrations were limited to the neighborhoods where they lived, or “Chinatowns.” Although the traditions in China surround being with family, this was not always feasible for these new immigrants. New traditions developed to include neighbors and friends instead of families. So, whereas travel is a major part of this holiday in China as people go back home to spend it with their families, it does not play as important of a role in the Chinese American celebrations. As new Chinese immigrants arrive daily, they contribute to the celebration of the most important holiday in their adopted country.
Another difference is noted in the length of the celebration. On the mainland, it is a 15-day long celebration with very little ‘work’ taking place. In the U.S. most celebrations last for the first weekend of the New Year and the observance of Lantern Day which is the ending of the 15-day celebration.
The most notable form of American Chinese celebration is the traditional parade that takes place in Chinatowns around the country, which are typically celebrated on the 15th day of the Spring Festival or Lantern Day. San Francisco’s Parade has long been known as the most famous and is still considered to be the largest in the United States. The main attraction in these parades is the ending ‘float’ which features the Golden Lion. Traditionally manned by the local Kung Fu schools as a way to engage new students, these large entrants into the parade now have become the focal point of the parade. The Golden Lions are built of silk over a bamboo skeleton and manned by typically two men or women performing the dance.
In our own Chicagoland the following events will help the local Chinese American Community bring in the “Year of the Serpent or the Snake.” There will be a performance and deconstruction of the Lion Dance held at The Chinese American Museum of Chicago on February 9th. On the 10th of February the 14th New Year Firecracker Ceremony & Cultural Festival will be held at the Sara Roosevelt Park located at Grand and Forsythe St. Then on the 17th of February, you can witness a fantastic parade featuring the Golden Lion at the 14th New Year Firecracker Ceremony & Cultural Festival, which will, of course, feature the Golden Lion!
We welcome you to embrace our traditions! Be sure to visit Yu’s Garden during Chinese New Year and enjoy the dishes that are made fresh each day. If you are heading out to these celebrations be sure and call 630-469-1535 to order your take out meal. You can also go on line at Yu’s Garden’s website to place your order.