Alaskans celebrate Chinese New Year

Alaskans celebrate Chinese New Year
Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 6:51 AM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Alaska Chinese Association hosted its Chinese New Year Festival on Sunday at Dimond High School.

And while according to the Gregorian calendar, the year is 2023, according to the Chinese Lunisolar calendar, the year is 4720, the Year of the Rabbit.

“It is a very important holiday in our culture because it is an event and is a day for all the family to gather together just like how people in America celebrate Christmas,” Alaska Chinese Association spokesperson Jin Chen said.

The festival has traditional Chinese food imported by local restaurants, Chinese performances, shopping and a carnival area that features Chinese games.

“In China or Taiwan or Hong Kong, anywhere that Chinese resides, we typically take anywhere between two to three weeks off from work and everybody — just like American holidays — we eat all day long, we celebrate, we drink, we shop,” Chen said.

Year of the Rabbit is just one of the 12 Zodiac signs that are celebrated on Chinese New Year’s. In Chinese culture, the rabbit is the symbol of longevity, peace and prosperity.

“This year we’re celebrating Chinese New Year, Year of Rabbit,” Chen said. “It is (a) very important (year). Not only it is a very lucky year that we’re celebrating — it is actually my year, I was actually born in the Year of Rabbit — but also we took a three-year break from this event.”

The celebration on Sunday at Dimond High School was also special for the Chinese community because not many people have been able to travel back to their home countries due to Covid restrictions.

“So it is very special for us to hold this event and provide our community members with a place they can celebrate,” Chen said.

Learn more about the Alaska Chinese Association here.