It was a cold and dreary day, but the crowds had gathered at the Chinese Culture Center for a joyous occasion. Lunar New Year had arrived once again, and Johnny, my grandmother and I were excited to join in the festivities. The event was organized by the Atlanta’s ROC Community, with the involvement of volunteers and other participants spanning all ages. This is the year of the sheep (goat or ram), which happens to be my Chinese zodiac.
Inside the red and white tents various vendors showcased everything from the art of calligraphy to language classes to Chinese souvenirs.
After we browsed through all of the displays, we didn’t waste anytime to chow down on some delicious Chinese cuisine. I had stir-fried noodles (which in Asian culture signify longevity), egg rolls, and dumplings. We tried Taiwanese style burgers for the first time, and trust me, we will be eating them many more times in the future. Yup, we have a new favorite dish!
On stage, dancers from local dance companies delighted the audience with their traditional costumes and choreography. Other entertainment included a Taiwanese opera and a youth ensemble performing synchronized drumming.
At noon, everyone braved the cold weather and stood outside to watch the much anticipated Lion and Dragon Dance. According to Chinese tradition, the Lions and Dragon are supposed to bring good fortune. With the accompaniment of drum beats, a group of energetic and agile performers brought these two beasts to life. We were all captivated by the dramatic moves of the lions and the dragon, with adults and children alike could be heard saying oohs and aahs. At the end of the dance, the lions “feasted” on lettuce and red envelopes filled with money handed out mostly by the kids.
Cheers to a healthy and prosperous new year!
If you don’t want to miss next year’s festival, check out Atlanta’s ROC Community Events Facebook page.