The Smoke Signal, MSJ's Official Newspaper


Fremont’s Lunar New Year Event Welcomes the Year of the Rabbit

By Staff Writers Chloe Gao & Maryam Naseer

From 1-4 p.m. on January 28, the City of Fremont organized the 2023 Lunar New Year Event, bringing together a diverse group of community members at the Downtown Event Center. Being the first of the city’s cultural celebrations to come, families gathered to explore booths, watch performances, and celebrate the Lunar New Year.  

Lunar New Year is a traditional festival celebrated in many Asian countries, marking the start of the lunar calendar. It is celebrated with large gatherings, gift-giving, cultural food, and festive decorations to bring good luck for the next year and welcome spring. Although the date of Lunar New Year varies depending on the lunar calendar, it usually falls between January 21 and February 20. This year, the Chinese zodiac is the Rabbit, lasting  from January 22 to Feb. 9, 2024. In East Asian culture, the rabbit symbolizes hope and a gentle demeanor, with those born in the Year of Rabbit being described as approachable and elegant. As the new year begins, Lunar New Year events offer opportunities to celebrate and honor symbols of hope and grace.

The City of Fremont’s Lunar New Year Event gave Fremont’s Asian community the opportunity to celebrate with friends and family, as well as introduce others to cultural traditions. The Eternity Band group Audacity 21 played a variety of songs as people wandered around visiting different booths, such as the Fremont Police Department, Washington Hospital Healthcare System, and Challenge School. The booths provided entertaining games, including a ring toss and spinning wheel. Booths also provided insight into cultural artifacts, through infographics and demonstrations, and mental health services. Echo.Church of Fremont provided a chance for children to win free prizes such as keychains, coffee mugs, and stuffed animals. “We want to make sure that our presence is known in the community and be able to just help serve the people here and get to celebrate especially for this Lunar New Year with our community,” Echo.Church Students Director Xavier Perez said.

Located around the booths were Fremont Fire Department and Police vehicles and food trucks. Children were able to explore these vehicles through tours, and received stickers and plastic red helmets. Families joined others inside the Event Center where tables displayed traditional Lunar New Year items such as red envelopes, lanterns, firecrackers, and a Chinese candy box. Chinese books were laid out as well for children for a quick read in the lounges. Nearby the Kids Corner for young children featured holiday crafts ranging from creating red lanterns to drawing with Chinese calligraphy tools. Families joined the event to understand and learn more about other cultures, ranging from Chinese to Vietnamese. “We decided to participate because we live in Fremont and we wanted to check it out and see how other people from other cultures celebrate the lunar year,” an attendee said. 

After an introduction of the city council members on the main stage, the Dragon Rhythm Shaolin Kung Fu performed traditional Lunar New Year routines, including lion and dragon dances. The performance started off with a long red dragon hoisted by seven people followed by colorful lions snaking through the crowd of people. “I see that the youth had this energy [and] strength and just power and confidence. And that’s also the spirit of [the] celebration of life,” FUSD District Board Member Yajing Zheng said.

Closing off, the Eternity Band’s Tongyi Yin Guzhen Academy and Audacity 22, as well as the Lakeside Band played traditional pieces as remaining attendees milled around the booths. Backdrops were hung throughout the event space, giving visitors different choices for photo opportunities with their friends and families.

Fremont’s Lunar New Year Event marks the first of many cultural events to come, giving residents the opportunity to learn about the various cultures of people in their community. “We had [various people] come here to celebrate. It tells us we celebrate diversity, and culture and collaboration,” Zheng said.

Photos by Staff Writers Chloe Gao, Waylon Li., and Maryam Naseer

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