By Rev. Norman Fong

February 12, 2018

The best way to celebrate the Chinese New Year is in San Francisco’s Chinatown! Everyone is super excited & happy! In Chinatown – we know how to do it best! Our Street Fairs & the Parade are filled with so much great entertainment & love of family & the community. It’s truly amazing!

I’ve had the honor to co-emcee the parade every year since 1991 and really appreciate all the kids & youth from our Bay Area schools, the best marching bands, martial artists & the beautiful lighted Floats! My band from Galileo High School days – “Jest Jammin’” has played on the afternoon of the parade at the Chinese New Year Street Fair since the Chinese Chamber started it in 1992. It’s the best way to celebrate the Year of the Dog (Feb 24) especially for families & groups of friends! Take your parents & grandparents too! I can’t believe that there are people that live in the San Francisco Bay Area that have never come before!

jest jammin
Jest Jammin' at Street Fair

Did you know that the “Flower Fair” (this weekend) is “Romantic” too? My best romantic date was in 1978 when my girl friend & I went to the Flower Market Fair in Hong Kong’s Victoria Park. (The Chinese Chamber got the Flower Fair idea from Hong Kong and started it here in San Francisco). My girlfriend & I walked around all night long to enjoy the Flower Fair where there were flowers, all kinds of plants & tangerines… but I also noticed that there were so many couples too. It was one of the most romantic evenings of my life. The Chinese New Year Day is usually close to Valentine’s Day too! Guess what? We got married in Hong Kong too that same year!

flower fair hong kong
Flower Fair in Hong Kong

victoria park
Victoria Park Flower Fair in Hong Kong

The Chinese New Year is about renewing our lives & our relationships. It’s about budding new relations too & hopes for a better year ahead. I love it! Please don’t take the Chinese New Year for granted. Make the most of it. Start off the Year of the loyal Dog appreciating & renewing your relationships with your family, friends & also the community. We have to care for the oldest Chinatown in America and we should support all those groups that will parade proudly through our community on Kearny Street. If you have never come before, I’d come on Saturday Feb. 24 which is both the day of the Street Fair & the evening parade… Bring your whole family or even a “date”. Sun Neen Fai Lok! Sum Serng See Sing! Sun Tai Geen Hong! And for you newlyweds getting married on Valentine’s Day just 2 days before the new year: “Teem Ding Fot Choy!”

Originally published in Sing Tao Daily on February 11, 2018


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