Scenes From the Chinese New Year Celebration in San Diego

chinese giant dragon

Oh snap, it’s the year of the dragon! The Chinese New Year officially began on January 23, and lucky for me, I was in San Diego over the last weekend of January during the city’s annual Chinese New Year Food and Cultural Fair.

I love cultural events like this. Various performance acts took the stage throughout the day, including these eye-catching slithering dragons that were like giant puppets with humans inside them.

chinese dragons

Don’t feed that dragon!

san diego chinese new year dragon

This group of Chinese ladies provided traditional song and dance. I really enjoyed their harmonies and their matching outfits.

chinese ny singers

The host joked that their average age was 27. More like 77! It’s great to see older generations doing their best to pass on their cultural traditions.

chinese ny vocalists

A lot of visitors had fun with this statue of the first Chinese emperor, Qin Shi Huang, outside the Chinese Historical Museum.

san diego chinese new year emperor statue

Purchase your favorite animal trinket. Or your own Buddha. There were various types to choose from, depending on which qualities are most important to you. Would you prefer Happy Buddha, Money Buddha, or Longevity Buddha? (I want all three!)

lunar new year san diego chinese buddhas

The Chinese New Year celebration in San Diego was a family-friendly event. This cowgirl enjoyed herself.

chinese ny cowgirl

So did these girls.

chinese girls dance

What’s a festival without yummy food vendors?

chinese vendors

A look behind the food tents as two women cook up something special for the lunar new year.

chinese ny food

The Naruwan Taiko Drummers were like an ethnic Blue Man Group, beating out intoxicating rhythms on a number of large drums.

chinese ny drummers - san diego annual food and cultural fair

The drummers had everyone enthralled. Except the girl in the glasses, who found me more interesting. I’m a looker, I suppose.

chinese lunar new year crowd

The fair takes place each February in downtown San Diego, on Third and J Street. The two-day event attracts more than 25,000 people. It’s presented by the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA) of San Diego and has been held annually since the early 1980s.

Check out a short clip of some of the performances from the San Diego Chinese New Year celebration.

For more fun in San Diego, check out the famous kissing sailor statue, the Maritime Museum, and the legendary San Diego Zoo.

6 thoughts on “Scenes From the Chinese New Year Celebration in San Diego”

  1. I never realized San Diego had a celebration like this. I would’ve suspected San Fran, but how cool this is. Your pics make me feel like I was there. And I found it interesting you got a shot of the food cart with the Chinese menu. I’m so used to seeing different signs on festival food trucks. It makes sense, but it also felt so foreign. What a neat way to taste (literally & figuratively) another culture. Great post!

  2. Awesome photos that captured the “fun” moments in the celebration. I am not sure why, but San Francisco’s Chinese New Year celebration is just coming up this weekend …..(a little delayed isnt it?)

  3. I never missed the Chinese New Year festivities when living in London. The dragons play a big role even if it’s not the year of the dragon. A fun post.

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