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Atlanta, Festivals

How Atlanta Ushered in the Year of the Sheep

Lion Dance at Atlanta's Lunar New Year 2015 celebration

Lion Dance at Atlanta’s Chinese Lunar New Year celebration

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.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Inside the red and white tents various vendors showcased everything from the art of calligraphy to language classes to Chinese souvenirs.

Beautiful calligraphy

Calligraphy demonstration

Year of the Sheep

Year of the Sheep

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!

Savory Chinese dishes

Sampling all kinds of Chinese food

Burger Taiwanese style

Burger Taiwanese style

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.

The youngest, most adorable entertainers putting a smile on everyone's faces

The youngest, most adorable entertainers putting a smile on everyone’s faces

Taiwanese opera

Taiwanese opera

Drumming ensemble

Drumming ensemble





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.

The lions consuming some lettuce

The lions “consuming” some lettuce

Children offering money-filled red envelops to the Lion

Children offering money-stuffed red envelopes to the Lion

The Lion approached the audience to be "fed" with red envelopes

The Lion approached the audience to be “fed” with red envelopes.

Dragon Dance

The Dragon chasing the sun



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.


17 thoughts on “How Atlanta Ushered in the Year of the Sheep

  1. Awesome shots! I see a lot of my fellow Asians in that photo–not sure if we’ve had a similar Chinese New Year celebration here in my city, but anyhow, it’s been a while since I last saw large groups of Asians. Ultimately, this seemed like a lovely event and you captured it very nicely.

    Posted by Aileen | February 26, 2015, 11:07 pm
  2. Sounds like a good time! You’re making me regret missing Seattle’s celebration this year!

    Posted by traciehowe | February 27, 2015, 1:34 am
  3. Lovely, colorful images, it seems that the ambience of these festivities was pretty awesome. Thanks for sharing!

    Posted by Gabor Kovacs | February 27, 2015, 9:38 am
  4. Very cool cultural celebration. And, I want to hear more about those Taiwanese burgers. What was in them that made them so great?

    Posted by Sean | February 27, 2015, 1:34 pm
  5. Such a colourful celebration! Those burgers looks pretty delicious!

    Posted by Elena | February 27, 2015, 9:46 pm
  6. Ooh would love to try the burger! What a fantastic way to get the community together and bring a country to you! Love the colours and culture! Happy Year of the Sheep!

    Posted by lesvoyagesdumonde | February 28, 2015, 3:35 pm
  7. Looks like a lot of fun!! I want to try the food.. yum.

    Posted by NYC JetSetter | February 28, 2015, 6:14 pm
  8. looks like a fun and colorfull festival! We have our own local festival to chase the winter away!

    Posted by Adventurous Journeys | March 1, 2015, 11:25 am
  9. You guys have so much access to cultures from all over the world in your own backyard! So lucky!

    Posted by Revati Victor (Different Doors) | March 2, 2015, 2:13 pm
  10. I love Chinese new year, hoping to spend it in china one year! It’s great that most cities have their own amazing and colourful festivals where all people can get involved and have fun. Love the energy in these photos!

    Posted by The Roaming Renegades.com | March 2, 2015, 2:15 pm
    • What a wonderful experience it would be to enjoy the festivities first hand in China. I’m definitely glad to live in a multicultural city like Atlanta where we get to learn about other countries’ traditions in our own backyard.

      Posted by fallequinox2006 | March 2, 2015, 7:29 pm
  11. What a wonderful way to brighten up an overcast, chilly day! The celebration is so colorful and your photos capture the good will and great eats that are traditionally associated with this festival. Thanks!

    Posted by betsywuebker | March 2, 2015, 6:55 pm

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