Spirits were high at the Mountain View Community Center on Saturday, Jan. 28, as crowds of people came together to celebrate the city’s first Lunar New Year event.
Attendees flocked to the community center to share Chinese and Korean holiday traditions of song, dance, and games.
About 20 groups from around the Peninsula participated, including dance teams, a capella groups and bands representing community members of all ages.
Yao Yao, one of the event's hosts and an eight-year resident of Mountain View, said that the music and dance performances are her favorite part of Lunar New Year celebrations.
Yao took part in the city’s Chinese Language Civic Leadership Academy last year, a program for Chinese speakers to learn about, and get involved in, city programs. She and other participants in the program helped create the event to celebrate Asian cultures in Mountain View.
“We will definitely make it happen again next year,” Yao said, adding that she and her friends are already planning for the 2024 event.
The atmosphere at the event matched Saturday’s sunny weather. Families had their faces painted, practiced their calligraphy and posed for photos with dragon balloons. Nancy Ducos, who works as a community outreach coordinator for the city, said she was expecting several thousand people would attend.
Dan Cheng, who has lived in Mountain View for 15 years, said that the city has a closely knit Chinese community. She volunteered at Saturday’s Lunar New Year celebration and said the event included many of the traditions she remembers from her own childhood.
“It’s the most important holiday in our life,” Cheng said. “Even when we move to America, we still keep these traditions.”
Cheng said the holiday is an important time for family reunions and honoring one’s heritage. She said it’s meaningful to Mountain View’s Chinese community to have a Lunar New Year celebration in their own city for the first time.
“I’m very excited because the city of Mountain View sponsored this event for us, for our community,” she said.
Liuhua Chen, who traveled to this weekend’s event from San Jose, expressed a similar sentiment.
“I come from China, and it’s a tradition for my family to celebrate the Chinese New Year,” he said.
Chen attended the event with his wife and two toddlers, and said it matters to him to share his Chinese heritage with his young children.
“I want to pass on the info to the new generation,” he said.