Pasadena Celebrates the Year of the Rat

Pasadena Celebrates the Year of the Rat

Korean dancers perform traditional royal court dances during the Lunar New Year Celebration in Pasadena, Calif. on Jan. 25, 2020.

PASADENA, CALIF.— The Lunar New Year officially began on Saturday, January 25, 2020, celebrating the year of the rat. The Chinese New Year is also known as Spring Festival since the coldest days of the year are over in East Asia. Asian cultures across the world celebrate the New Year on the first new moon of the lunar calendar. In the United States, local communities host events and street parades that honor the ancient festival traditions.

The USC Pacific Asia Museum (PAM) in Pasadena, Calif. held its 10th annual Lunar New Year celebration with live performances and Chinese calligraphy demonstrations throughout the day. This is the museum’s biggest event of the year according to Nathalia Morales-Evanks, head of communications and marketing for PAM.

Drum dancers from the Korean Classical Music and Dance Company glided in unison across the main stage as they performed traditional Korean royal court dances. Dressed in brightly colored silks, the dancers incorporated decorative standing drums and fans in their folk performance throughout the show. 

Chinese New Year 2020
Korean dancers from the Korean Classical Music and Dance Company jump in unison at the Lunar New Year performance on Jan. 25, 2020. (Photo by Jourdan Arnaud)

“We have a lot of performances from different Asian cultures as well as art activities. We also have our special exhibition and permanent collection art galleries open today for free,” said Morales-Evanks.

“This event is for all ages and something we really look forward to each year in order to give back to the community.”  

Arts and crafts included calligraphy demonstrations, handmade rat masks and handheld drums for the kids. Maria Miao, a former arts and design teacher in China, led the calligraphy demonstrations with her husband Owen Jia. Participants used special animal-hair brushes and black ink to draw lucky Chinese characters on red paper. Owen Jia explained the tradition of bringing luck and happiness in the New Year. He said it’s custom to hang decorative red paper with Chinese characters  in a window or on a front door to signal good fortune and happiness in the new year.

Chinese New Year
A crowd gathers around the calligraphy station at the Lunar New Year celebration on Jan. 25, 2020. (Photo by Jourdan Arnaud)
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