The Fourth Street shopping district came alive with the the sounds of traditional Chinese music, the color of ornate dancing lions and the excitement of the crowds.
We arrived just in time to watch the Lion Dance performed by Kei Lun Martial Arts. The girls sat and watched in awe as the performers brought the colorful lions to life. Lola was a little scared when the lions came close to us but Mathilde couldn't get enough of them. In fact, my little one (in her lion bib!) was keen to join in and kept crawling onto the road where the performance was taking place!
This was followed by a performance of a story about a big bad wolf, a flock of lambs and a lion - the brave hero. Children from the crowd joined in to play the part of the lambs. Ava and Lola were too shy to join in, but part way though I could see that they wished they had. It certainly looked like fun! The big bad wolf danced around attempting to trap the lambs in his lair. The shepherd tried to fend him off but was no match. This is where the lion came in. After a dramatic battle involving swords the lion finally defeats the wolf and the lambs are safe. Hooray!
The finale of the festival was a parade and store blessing. Two lions, two big headed monk characters and a band of musicians visited the stores and restaurants along Fourth Street blessing them as they went. We joined in the procession that followed. The stores that took part in the blessing gave out candy to the children. As you can probably imagine, this was Lola's favorite part of the day. She certainly has a sweet tooth, that one!
The girls had a great time at the Lunar New Year celebration. We haven't been to the local festival before and usually just attend the parade in San Francisco (which will be held on March 7th). The parade in San Francisco is fantastic but it's so big that it can get a little overwhelming for the kids. Plus it's held in the evening which means that we have tired kids to bring home on BART afterwards. While we'll still most likely go to the parade in San Francisco, it was a nice change taking part in a smaller festival. The crowd was much smaller and the kids got to get up nice and close to the performance. It was a beautiful day and it was so nice to be out in the sun watching the performers.
Happy Lunar New Year!