Miss A Columnist

Van Ma grew up in San Francisco. She graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a degree in Human Biology and a minor in French Literature. Having left her heart in San Francisco, she returned to work across the Bay Area as a behavioral therapist, teaching verbal and nonverbal children with ASD. She maintains an active lifestyle by practicing yoga and running daily. In her spare time, she loves to read at local cafes, work on art projects, watch sports, and rock out to country music. Wherever she is, Van loves to try new restaurants and check out events around the city. She lives by the motto: “I work to live and I live to travel,” so she always looks forward to local and foreign adventures.

Recap: San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade

The highly anticipated annual Southwest Chinese New Year Parade captivated the crowd once again. Hours before the start, adults and children began to set up lawn chairs and blankets to claim their space. The streets were filled with children holding pinwheels, throwing poppers, and blowing bubbles. As the sun began to set, one million people gathered along the sidewalks of Chinatown, everyone bundled in coats, hats, and scarves.

Spectators filled Chinatown's streets as the sun begin to set.  (Photo Credit: Ricardo Gomez Photography)

Spectators filled Chinatown’s streets as the sun begins to set.
(Photo Credit: Ricardo Gomez Photography)

With fireworks being set off, San Francisco police officers led the way for the George Washington High School Color Guard and other JROTC groups. The acts to follow were a combination of young children, public figures, police and fire departments, religious groups and local businesses including a motor powered shopping cart from Lucky’s. Each float was elaborately decorated with red and yellow being the dominant colors. Police officers walked the streets, handing out Chinese Good Luck Candy.

One of the beauty queens of the parade.  She was having a great time! (Ricardo Gomez Photography)

One of the beauty queens of the parade. (Ricardo Gomez Photography)

Performances from the school children proved to be a hit with the crowd especially with a hundred kids dancing to Katy Perry’s “Firework” and PSY’s “Gangnam Style”. Also, there were fan and ribbon dancers, and children dressed in snake costumes, slithering around. Hundreds of colorful lions swarmed the streets to entertain spectators. Since touching the head of the lion is thought to bring good luck, many spectators were eager to extend a hand every time lion dancers passed. Miss Chinatown U.S.A. 2013, Leah Li, sat high on a golden throne decorated with flowers, draped in a glitter decorated red cloak. All the runner-ups had smiles on their faces as well, wearing beautiful traditional Chinese dresses.

Participants moving their elaborately decorated floats toward the parade. (Photo Credit: Ricardo Gomez Photography)

Participants moving their elaborately decorated floats toward the parade. (Photo Credit: Ricardo Gomez Photography)

Then there was the grand finale which never ceases to amaze the crowd. Everyone whipped out their phones and cameras to snap photos of this jaw-dropped scene. A sea of small dancing lions and drummers led the way for two oversize dancing lion heads and the 201-foot-long dragon. The sky filled with black smoke as thousands of firecrackers were set off and five lion dancers were perched high on stilts holding scrolls wishing everyone a happy year of the snake. Gung Hay Fat Choy!

 

School children perform a fan dance to the rhythm of the music.

School children perform a fan dance to the rhythm of the music. (Photo Credit: Ricardo Gomez Photography)

Chung Ngai Dance Troupe is a non-profit Chinese performing arts organization, based in San Francisco.  Definitely a favorite of the crowd! (Photo Credit: Ricardo Gomez Photography)

Chung Ngai Dance Troupe, a non-profit Chinese performing arts organization, was a crowd favorite. (Photo Credit: Ricardo Gomez Photography)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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