Chinese New Year(s Eve)!

Get ready for a ton of pictures, because the best way to describe the celebration is with images. Although, due to the religious nature of the event, and it taking place in a temple, I couldn’t get the best angles or close ups I would have liked (as I didn’t want to be obnoxious). But lets start at the beginning, where my good friends, Lindsey and Michelle, and I had Tibetan food at the Tibet Nepal House in Pasadena. It was my first time having Tibetan food and it was pretty good. They had several veggie options and we ended up getting several plates and serving ourselves family style.

You can tell by all our empty plates that we loved it. Plus the plates weren’t huge so we could order several and try several different things. I liked the shrimp in coconut milk… yum.

After dinner, Lindsey and I continued on to Chinatown to visit the Chuan Thien Hau Temple as their festivities were beginning.

There was tons of incense burning and tables full of offerings of oranges and cabbage. The smokey air made for great ambiance, but Ill admit I reeked by the end of end of the night and my allergies were going nuts.

The temple was so beautiful. I’ve walked around the area before, but never really saw the inside all lit up. It was all so ornate.

I just wish I knew the significance of it all! While people watching, I could pick-up on certain repeated activities that people were doing, but couldn’t understand why.

Even their exterior columns are ornate.

Around 10:30 festivities were beginning in the street in front of the temple. We got a spot out front and waited while they were setting up for the fire crackers to go off. In the meantime the performers were warming up and these adorable little boys were warming themselves with a heat lamp.

Once the pyrotechnics were set-up, important members of the community came out to light the long strings of fire crackers. The actual blowing up of the fire crackers was cool in person, but lame in photos. All the photos I have just show a blur of smoke and the photos don’t sell that sound that you are hearing when 100’s of fire crackers go off at a steady pace for 5 minutes.

Once the firecrackers were done, the performers came out and begin doing their dragon dance. Two people made up each dragon (a head and a tail) and there were 4 dragons as part of this dance. They were full of energy with their giant dragon heads.

At one point they all ran up a trail into the temple where they continued their dance. People were saying it’s good luck to touch the dragon as it runs around the temple. So as soon as the dragons ran in the temple, everyone chased after them.

Here you can see everyone trying to touch the dragon.

Once the dragons ran back out in front of the temple, the rest of the performers joined in showing off their skills. It was at this point that Lindsey and I needed to hit the road, as we both had to get up early for work in a few hours.

As we walked away I got this last shot, which I really liked. Other friends at the event told us that after we left there was more dragon dancing and another round of firecrackers. I highly recommend this event, and you better not miss their 2013 New Years Eve.

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