OROVILLE — Like most New Year celebrations, Chinese New Year represents fresh opportunities and wishes for good luck, prosperity and good health.
Oroville’s historic Chinese temple, built in 1863, served as the backdrop for Sunday’s event, which drew nearly 400 people. Most of them gathered in anticipation of a colorful artistic performance of two dancing lions and loud percussion from Leung’s White Crane Dragon and Lion Dance Association of San Francisco.
Lunar New Year is not necessarily the same as the better known Chinese New Year, but it is closely related. Both are based on the ancient Chinese lunar calendar. Gregorian calendar. Therefore, the time of “New Year” varies each year rather than the fixed date of his January 1st, which is celebrated in Western cultures.
Many “oohs” and “ahhs” erupted from the crowd as the lions performed intricate movements and rotations representing the blessings the lions offered to the participants, such as prosperity, longevity and health. Performers Timothy Tran and Ricardo Lopez were in one lion, and Cindy Nguyen and Karina Cook in the other. Percussionists Peter Pham (drums) and Colin Nguyen and Donovan Nguyen (cymbals) provided a large amount of rhythmic noise.
Pham, leader of the White Crane troupe, explained that the noise was designed to ward off evil spirits. .
According to Pham, some performances use firecrackers, the noise of which is intended to scare away unwanted spirits.
However, the audience seemed completely satisfied with the performance and the complex moves of the Lions.
Auroville’s Brianna Chapman and her 3-year-old son, Carson Harris, visited the exhibit. Carson was especially looking forward to this event. His mother said it was another way for him to expose Carson to different cultures.
“We attended last year and had a lot of fun seeing everything,” said Chapman, as she and her son admired many of the historical exhibits within the temple museum. I loved it so much, I used to watch dragon videos over and over again.”
“They were red and yellow,” recalled Carson enthusiastically.
history and energy
Heather McCafferty, curator of the city-owned Chinese Temple, explained that many Lunar New Year celebrations were held at the Auroville Temple in the 19th century.
“It was a big celebration in the area in the 1800s,” she said.
McCafferty estimates 400 attendees for the 2022 event, and this year was close to that number.
“People get excited about dancing,” she said. “You can really feel the energy that’s about to start.”
Temple museum officials handed out red envelopes to attendees on Sunday, a traditional part of Chinese New Year celebrations. According to Chinese customs, wrapping money in red paper will bring greater happiness and prosperity to the recipient. Red symbolizes energy, luck and happiness in Chinese culture.
The White Crane Group’s stop in Auroville was just part of a very long day of travel. Performers began their day dancing at the Cache Creek Casino in western Yolo County before heading to Oroville. When they finished his hour-long session, they were back in the van to perform at a Lunar New Year event in Sacramento.