Happy New Year! “Year of the Tiger” is welcomed at SE Portland celebration

If you missed this traditional gathering, see some of the pageantry and activities that made up the Chinese New Year celebration sponsored by Portland Community College SE Center …

Lion Dancers from Northwest Learning Academy welcome guests to the Asian New Year Celebration.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The longest and most important festivity in the Chinese Lunar Calendar is Chinese New Year – an event also celebrated by other peoples influenced by Chinese Han culture, most notably Koreans, Japanese, and Vietnamese.

The centuries-old tradition – this time welcoming the “Year of the Tiger” – was celebrated by hundreds, at the Legin Restaurant Banquet Hall, just west of the Portland Community College SE Center at SE 82nd Avenue of Roses and SE Division Street.

Portland Community College Associated Students President, Anson Lilienthal, and PCCAS Student Programs Director – and organizer of the festival – Lien Le, say this is a fun event that also helps draw diverse people together.

Student Lien Le, Director of the school’s Associated Student Programs at PCC, took time from studying for her Associate degree in radiology to organize this year’s celebration.

“I chose PCC Southeast Center because this campus really reaches out to the community,” Le said. “We help put together the program, recruit the performers, and make sure everyone has a good time at our celebration.”

Serving as co-emcee for the event, Anson Lilienthal, President of AS-PCC, took time from his criminal justice studies. “Best thing about the celebration is the food! Beside that, it’s about the fun of bringing everyone together. We have a lot of people from a lot of different backgrounds and hope to have a good time.”

Onstage, the Lion Dancers perform their routine.

The Lion Dance becomes interactive, as the colorful beasts move into the audience.

The event, held on February 15 – the second day of the Chinese New Year – presented many kinds of entertaining and educational activities.

A Chinese calligrapher drew visitors’ names; there were martial arts demonstrations, face painting, chopsticks-using lessons, and paper lantern-cutting – and other games and activities.

Vivian Nguyen and Carina Lim help kids play the Chinese zodiac game.

Getting ready for their performance, Hmong Association performer Kanee Her is groomed by Pala Her before they present their traditional dance.

Jazmyn Billings-McBee smiles after receiving her package of “lucky money” – a Chinese New Year Tradition – from Portland Community College SE Center President Nan Poppe.

Kindergartners from the Chinese Mandarin Immersion program at Woodstock Elementary School perform a dance number at the event.

Demonstrating grace beyond their years, these Chinese Mandarin Immersion program first-graders from Woodstock Elementary School perform a ballet-like dance at the SE Portland Chinese New Year celebration.

Although this year’s event attracted only about half the number of participants who attended last year, smiles and happy New Year wishes abounded.

© 2010 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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