The Lunar New Year began Sunday; the two-week holiday is celebrated by more than a billion people around the globe. For those of Vietnamese descent marking the holiday known as Tet Nguyen Dan, this is the Year of the Cat. In other Asian cultures, it’s the Year of the Rabbit. What is believed to be Lancaster’s first public celebration of the Lunar New Year was held Sunday in the city’s Ewell Plaza.
With its red Adirondack chairs and red decorative accents — red is the hue of celebration and good fortune in Asian cultures — Lancaster’s Ewell Plaza was the perfect place for a Lunar New Year celebration.
For Sunday’s event, red lanterns were hung high above the plaza. Despite a cold drizzle, the plaza was alive with the sights and sounds of good luck-summoning lion dances and the red-clad Lancaster Chinese Dance Group.
Joyfully and generously, the local Asian American and Pacific Islander community declared its presence in Lancaster County with this celebration. We hope the event becomes an annual fixture.
As LNP | LancasterOnline’s Mickayla Miller reported, the event was inspired by the October celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month in Ewell Plaza. We wholeheartedly believe that Lancaster County should celebrate its diversity — that diversity enriches our culture and broadens our worldview.
In previous years, Asian Americans living here had to travel to larger cities to celebrate the Lunar New Year. The thinking behind the Lancaster celebration was this, Cindy Guo, co-owner of Silantra Asian Street Kitchen, told LNP | LancasterOnline: “It’s really hard to have to (travel) every year. Why can’t we bring something like this to Lancaster city?”
So they did.
Kudos to Laura Wu, owner of Laura Z Tai Fine Jewelry & Watches in Lancaster city, who first had the idea. Kudos, too, to her fellow organizers, who included Guo, PhotOlé Photography’s Olé Hongvanthong and Heidi Castillo, and dancer and educator Sophie Xiong.
“Traditionally, in Asian cultures, when we celebrate, it’s inviting and welcoming everyone. It’s not just for our community,” Guo told LNP | LancasterOnline. “This is our way of saying we’re all part of the community, too.”
We wish a happy and prosperous Lunar New Year to all who celebrate it.