Lunar New Year celebration takes over Midland Library

See the color, pageantry, and activities that delighted hundreds of visitors at this annual welcoming of the Chinese New Year …

Talented performers from the Gia Dinh Phat Tu Minh Quang dance team bring the colorful Dancing Lion to life, kicking off the Lunar New Year celebration at Midland Library.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Although it was held a week after the official beginning of the 2013 Lunar New Year –that’s the celebration welcoming the “Year of the Snake” by Chinese and Vietnamese communities – it was nevertheless lively, colorful, and well-attended, on February 17 at Midland Library.

Starting at 2:00 p.m., the large meeting room was soon filled with folks of all nationalities, eager for the festivities to begin.

Guests “feed” the New Year Lion “hongbao” – red envelopes, containing ceremonial “money” – hoping that good luck will rub off on them.

Midland librarian Cherry Chan is enthusiastic, watching the Lion Dancers energetically perform.

“It’s so much fun, when we have our Lunar New Year celebration,” Midland librarian Cherry Chan told East Portland News.

“It’s primarily for our Chinese and Vietnamese cultures,” Chan explained. “It’s important to have this, because it celebrates a very important day in our culture. Every year we have a big celebration.”

Karen Nguyen gives away tickets for prize drawings held during the Midland Library Lunar New Year celebration.

Members of the Summit Wushu Academy demonstrate acrobatic martial arts moves.

“At this outer East Portland library, we like to have culturally-diverse programs to welcome all of the residents of the area,” Chan said. “We like everyone to come celebrate with us.”

In addition to the lion dance and martial arts demonstration, organizers also provided Chinese dancers’ performances, games for the kids, crafts – and later, traditional food.

Library volunteer David Rong helps kids make their “Year of the Snake” headgear out of pipe cleaners.

Games of luck and skill attract many delighted participants.

To all of our Chinese and Vietnamese friends, we say, “X?n Nián Kuài Lè” – Happy New Year!

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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