Carpinteria Lunar New Year Celebration
By Robert Bernstein
Many cultures celebrate the Lunar New Year, but the Chinese version is perhaps the best known. Santa Barbara often has Chinese New Year events, but they are not always well-publicized.
The celebration opened with children displaying traditional Asian foods that are prepared and served at the time of the Lunar New Year:
The Chinese New Year legend has it that the monster Nian emerges to do harm. He is driven away with loud noises and with the color red. Young children were invited to the stage to bang on metal can drums as Nian appears and runs away:
The rest of the celebration involved Hawaiian and Japanese cultural activities. As far as I know, these cultures celebrate the Western New Year rather than the Lunar New Year. In fact, on New Year Day 2019 we were staying in Little Tokyo in Los Angeles and took part in their Japanese New Year celebrations.
That said, the remainder of the celebration was a delightful cultural experience!
The next section of the celebration was performed by "Hula Anyone" which is a Hawaiian dance group in Santa Barbara. They welcome new dancers and teach the dance to anyone who wants to learn.
Their first dance was called Nani Manoa:
Next was called Hiilawe:
The third dance was called Waika:
Their final dance was to the American song "Fly Me to the Moon". They wanted to make the point that hula is a form of communication that is universal. It does not matter what language the music is in.
The final performance of the celebration was by Ojai O'Daiko Taiko Drummers. As noted above, Japanese culture celebrates the Western New Year. But this Taiko drumming was still an enjoyable way to celebrate the Lunar New Year!
Afterwards the drummers kindly posed with some of the children in attendance.
It is not always easy to find these beautiful Lunar New Year events. Mark your calendar for early next year and start searching. You will be in for a treat!