Chinese New Year celebrations kicked off at Holgate Library

See the throng celebrating the first of many Lunar New Year events throughout East Portland. And, find out about other upcoming celebrations you may want to attend …

This young man looks delighted that the “lucky lion” has come to personally wish him a Happy New Year at the Holgate Library Lunar New Year celebration on February 1.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
2011 Lunar New Year celebrations abound in East Portland – as neighbors from Asian countries welcome what is identified as the New Year, according to ancient calendars.

The Chinese are celebrating the New Year of the Rabbit, Lunar Calendar 4709. It’s the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays, we learned. Although it falls in the dead of winter, it’s known as “Ch?n Jié” or “Spring Festival”.

Chinese New Year is celebrated in countries and territories that have significant Chinese populations, such as Mainland China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and outer East Portland.

Other Asian countries also have adopted the Chinese traditional holiday – but with their own celebrations. Koreans celebrate Seollal; Tibetans and Bhutanese, Losar; Mongolians, Tsagaan Sar, Vietnamese celebrate T?t.

The Lee’s Association Lion Dance performers and drummers provide a spirited welcome to the celebration, just west of SE 82nd Avenue, at the Holgate Branch Library.

At the February Holgate Library evening celebration, Lee’s Association kicked off the event with a pair of colorful “lions” that prance, pounce and entertain the audience.

“It’s important to have events like this,” acknowledged the library’s Administrator, Victoria Oglesbee, “To welcome in all of our community members.”

This particular celebration embraced traditions of China – with the Year of the Rabbit – as well as Vietnam’s Year of the Cat. In addition to the lion dance, the event featured music by Bamboo and Orchestra Quartet, along with a display of table crafts, and traditional food.

Administrator of Holgate Branch Library Victoria Oglesbee dangles cabbage and “Lucky Money”, causing a “lion” to leap high into the air to catch it.

Celebrations abound

February 5 – From 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m., it’s the T?t nguyên ?án 2011, the Chinese New Year, as celebrated by the Portland Vietnamese community. This year’s events include traditional and contemporary cultural activities, including a lion dance every hour, martial arts demonstrations, and 80 booths offering food, products, and services. Admission: $6 Adults; children 6 and under, free. It’s at Oregon Convention Center, Exhibit Hall C, 777 NE Martin Luther King Boulevard. For more information, see their poster at the Portland Chinese Times website: CLICK HERE. Or, call (503) 380-8788.

February 8Woodstock Lunar New Year Celebration – Celebrate the Lunar New Year customs of China, and welcome the Year of the Rabbit, 6 until 7:30 pm tonight at the Woodstock Branch Library. Enjoy traditional lion dancers, crafts and treats! Free. The library is on S.E. Woodstock Boulevard at SE 49th Avenue.

February 8Outer East Portland Lunar New Year Celebration – traditions of China and Vietnam will be honored with a traditional dance performed by the Portland Art & Cultural Center Dance Team, music, games, food and crafts! It’s this evening, from 5 until 7 p.m. at your Midland Library, 805 S.E. 122nd Ave. Call (503) 988-5392 for more information.

February 21PCC Celebration of the Chinese ‘Year of the Rabbit’ – Again this year, starting at 9:30 a.m. this morning, Portland Community College’s Southeast Center will celebrate the Chinese New Year with music, entertainment, food, vendors, door prizes and much more. Admission and parking are free. The event is perfect for children as it features a lion dance, other Asian dances, demonstrations on how to use chopsticks, paper lantern cutting, games and other activities. In addition, there will be various arts and crafts, and food on sale for $1. It’s at the Legin Restaurant Banquet Hall, 8001 S.E. Division St. – their parking lot adjoins the PCC SE Center. For more information, email:

Crafts, like these that young people are enjoying at the Holgate Library, are a staple of most Chinese New Year celebrations throughout East Portland.

© 2011 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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