I am a perplexed and a little disappointed with Santa Barbara’s non-celebration of the Lunar New Year. We do Solstice Parades, two Christmas Parades, Veteran’s Day Parades, Gay Pride Parades, Fiesta Parades, Fourth of July Parades… but no Lunar New Year Parade? How is it that we can go ALL OUT for Summer Solstice and even make up our own week-long holiday, yet completely neglect Lunar New Year?
In no way do I mean to imply that Santa Barbara does not hold enough parades. As you can see, we have parades coming out of our ears. Neither am I implying that we should have fewer parades. Parades are great. BUT. I am saying that to more than a billion people world-wide, the Lunar New Year is the most important holiday of the year, and our city doesn’t show a blip of interest. What’s more, according to the plaque which hangs at the former site of Jimmy’s Oriental Restaurant, the two blocks of Canon Perdido between State and Santa Barbara Streets used to be home to our own thriving (albeit teensy) China Town! And in the 1800’s, Chinese accounted for ten percent of this town’s population! Not to mention whatever Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, and all other types of Asiankind have called this town home.
Come on, Santa Barbara! Represent!
I propose a take over! I am hereby making it my goal to make this happen in Santa Barbara. Admittedly, I have not-a-whole-lot of experience in the implementing new municipal traditions department, but I envision a parade with a full 20+ person manned dragon dance, fireworks, wishing tree, red envelopes, red lanterns on State Street, fortune cookies for all and lots and lots of Chinese food!
I myself am not Asian. (Although, in high school I nearly convinced a group of friends that I was a quarter Asian since I am half Spanish, and Filipinos are half Spanish. It’s simple logic!) But I do celebrate Lunar New Year. For the past three years, I have diligently (let’s be honest: superstitiously) cleaned our apartment as thoroughly as possible in the weeks leading up to the day. I’m talkin’ scrub the walls, the fridge, the cabinets – get rid of old clothes – steam-clean the couch – wash the outsides of the windows – vacuum under the bed CLEAN. I purposefully do not take out the trash or sweep for the week following so as not to sweep away the good luck brought on by the new year. I wear red on New Year’s Day. I make sure to have mandarins and fresh flowers in the house. And this year, I gave The Old Man a red envelope with a bright and shiny hundred dollar bill. All in the name of good luck. This is nourishment to my superstitious Sagittarius soul. Where I picked this tradition up from, who the eff knows. But I did. And it stuck. And I LOVE IT! And I think other people will love it to!
Lunar New Year balloons in NYC
Let’s all carry balloons!
And dance with gilded skirts!
It is possible that I am drunk on the loveliness of this holiday and am making it up that I will actually follow through and institute a citywide celebration and parade. I have been known to soar to great heights on the wings of brilliant ideas held up on the breeze enthusiasm and gusto, only to glide softly down to earth to completely and unceremoniously abandon my terror bird fantasies for no other reason than “shrug”. But as of today, whether I am BSing or not, I hereby declare that Santa Barbara SHALL have an annual Lunar New Year celebration! Who’s with me?!
So let it be written. So let it be done.
(Name the source of this quote! Comment on this post with the answer and you shall be awarded one hundred extra credit points in heaven. Better yet, comment with an enthusiastic comment of support for two hundred!)
PS. I thought I should mention that The Old Man bet $10 of his New Year’s $100 in a penny slot machine in Deadwood, South Dakota today and BAM! Made $54. Yeehaw for super superstitions!
*All images in this post are licensed under The Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Share Alike License and can be found at http://commons.wikimedia.org. Click on images to link to original.