Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

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    Rousing welcome for ‘Year of the Boar’

    by Isis Piccillo/Tower Staff Writer

    Cover image by Toni Cervantes/ Tower Staff Photographer

    Taiko drummers perform at the Oakland Museum of California on Feb. 10 as part of the museums Lunar New Year celebrations.. Toni Cervantes/ TOWER Photographer

    Lunar New Year festivities, celebrating the Year of the Boar, roared through Oakland’s Chinatown on the afternoon of Feb. 10 as part of the multi-week celebration.

    Often called the Chinese New Year, Lunar New Year is actually observed by many cultural and ethnic groups worldwide.

    Japanese drum ensemble Emeryville Taiko, classical Indian fusion dance Maya at Cal and the Ger Youth Center’s Mongolian folk dance troupe were among some of the performers.

    The event was held at the Oakland Asian Community Center (OACC), which is a centralized hub for cultural events, but this celebration drew crowds far larger than usual.

    For many, this was their first time to the OACC, including Christine Yang, who came with her 10-month-old son Ziggy and her husband, Jay Boon.

    “I want Ziggy to have, in his first year, some Chinese cultural experience,” Boon said.

    Christine Yang with her 10-month-old son Ziggy posed in front of a table that allows small children to touch a craft made lion’s head. Photo by Michelle Snider/Tower Co-Editor

    The family also snagged one of the free books offered during storytime, provided in partnership with Eastwind Books of Berkeley with support from the Oakland Literacy Coalition.

    A small pink lion marionette assisted one of the guest storytellers, Sine Hwang Jensen, as they read from an illustrated version of the classic folktale “The Seven Chinese Sisters.”

    The Toi Shan Family Association brings children with them to participate the lion dance. Photo by Tiehui Fan/Tower Designer

    “One of the things we started with was teaching the difference between a lion and a dragon,” said Jensen of the elaborate multi-person costume dances depicting dragons or lions. To an untrained eye, “they just look like fantastical creatures in the parades.”

    The distinguishing factor is the number of paws. Lions have four paws (two people), while dragons have at least six (at least three people).

    The lion dancers themselves both opened and closed the event. Two lions, accompanied by drums, gongs and cymbals, kicked off the celebration in the courtyard. Young children, hands clamped tightly over their ears, trailed the procession with interest or cowered behind their parents.


    (Left) A group of dancers pose for pictures in the dance studio at the Oakland Asian Community Center in downtown Oakland on Feb. 10 while another young dance group shows off what they have learned to their family. (Right) Each group represented a different region. Photo by Michelle Snider/Tower Co-Editor

    Afterwards, the children paraded into the auditorium, proudly showing off their handcrafted paper lanterns and shadow puppets, with lion dancers bounding enthusiastically in their wake.

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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