Redwood City celebrates Lunar New Year

 

Hundreds of families carrying children and pushing strollers packed Courthouse Square in Redwood City to welcome the “Year of the Ram” on Feb. 28.

The event — which celebrated the Lunar New Year — was free and open to the public. It featured lion dance and martial arts performances, as well as arts and crafts.

Redwood City Mayor Jeffrey Gee, who grew up in the nearby city of Belmont and whose grandfather and father emigrated from China, said the Lunar New Year celebration is a time for family.

“Much like the New Year here in the U.S., it’s well wishes, hope for what’s coming and time to eat,” said Gee, who put together Redwood City’s first Lunar New Year celebration in 2011, when he was a city council member.

About 14 percent of Redwood City’s population identifies as Asian, while 33 percent are Latino and 47 percent are Caucasian, according to the 2013 American Community Survey.

“We are a very diverse community and we celebrate that diversity,” Gee said. “It’s really about educating, celebrating who we are, and learning about each other.”

David Chai, a member of the board of directors of the Organization of Chinese Americans – San Mateo Chapter, said Redwood City’s Lunar New Year event is a sign that Chinese-Americans on the Peninsula are increasingly established and involved in the community.

“When I first came here in 2004, I had to go to San Francisco for Lunar New Year events. It’s a hike,” said Chai, a retired engineer who lives in Foster City.

According to the Chinese zodiac, those born in the Year of the Ram — also known as the sheep or goat sign — are creative, calm and elegant.