Lunar New Year performers, instructors and hosts gather to take pictures for their audience after the lion dance. Photo by Dajonea Robinson.

Humboldt State celebrates the Lunar New Year

“The longer the night lasts, the more our dreams will be.” – Chinese Proverb

This year’s Lunar New Year Festival landed on Feb. 16 and is also the year of the dog. The new year is determined by the first new moon between Jan. 21 to Feb. 20.

The celebration is a time to welcome in the new year with family, as well as giving luck out and taking it in. Some of the festivities include ceremonies, lion and dragon dances, fireworks and more.

Video recorded by Dajonea Robinson. Edited by Surya Gopalan.

Allan Hubbard, martial arts instructor for Eastern Ways Martial Arts, and his team made the six-hour drive from Sacramento to perform the traditional lion dance for the Lunar New Year event on Feb. 16.

“The significance of the lion dance is normally the kickoff to any event during the Lunar New Year to bring good luck, prosperity and good health for the new year,” Hubbard said.

Hubbard said in a typical performance, the audience should expect the lions to be very animated as they move throughout the crowd.

“There’s a segment of the routine where the lions will play and then take nap. They’ll wake back up, scratch and stretch and then they eat lettuce. They then perform three bows, which are the humility of the lion to the crowd,” Hubbard said.

Jacob Langley was one of the performers in the lion dance routine. Langley has been lion-dancing for five to six years and has been training for kung fu for 16 years.

“I’ve always loved it here, [and] I’ve been a few times. We had some other teams that were going in to perform at casinos and we figured this would be the better one to come to,” Langley said. “It’s just always fun to travel and do lion-dancing anywhere we can go. I had a great time, the audience was a blast and we had a really successful dance.”

Aaron Gardener is one of the instructors for Eastern Ways Martial Arts and he was also part of the lion-dancing team.

“Every year around Chinese New Year we do a lot these lion dances,” Gardener said. “It’s always a lot of fun. I like entertaining people and making them laugh.”

Gardener has been training for lion-dancing for about four years and has been training for kung fu for about eight years.

“At our school, everybody does the martial art aspect first,” Gardener said. “Once they get down the basic stances and skills balance, then we allow people to be lion-dancers.”

Gung hay fat choy (happy new year)!

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