You certainly won’t be the only one celebrating the Lunar New Year at this colorful event in L.A.’s Chinatown every February. Join thousands of revelers lining the parade route as lion dancers and giant dragons twist, twirl, and spin. It’s an honor to be the parade’s Grand Marshall, a title first bestowed on actor and martial artist Bruce Lee in the 1970s. Since then, other Grand Marshalls’ have included David Carradine and Keye Luke from the television series Kung Fu, Dr. Haing S. Ngor from the film The Killing Fields, and Garrett Wang from the TV series Star Trek Voyager.
The Golden Dragon Parade remains the longest-running Lunar New Year parade outside China. The parade initially started in the late 1800s as a government response to help bridge racial divides and invoke greater understanding for the Chinese immigrants who came to Los Angeles. Today, it sees more than 80,000 attendees every year with thousands viewing the telecast from home. Colorful costumes, lion dances, martial arts performances, and educational programming can be expected. The parade also features celebrities, government officials, and dignitaries in addition to many high school bands, among other performers.
Not able to attend the festivities in person? Celebrate the Lunar New Year virtually on Facebook Live or head to the San Gabriel Valley for fa gao (fortune cakes), good luck cookies, and other traditional fare made specially for the occasion. The USC Pacific Asia Museum also offers special programs to commemorate the new year. As for kid-friendly fun, Universal Studios Hollywood will be celebrating with live performances, and appearances from your favorite characters like Kung Fu Panda’s Po and Tigress, a Mandarin-speaking Megatron, and Minions dressed in traditional Chinese garb.
The Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Los Angeles organizes the parade every year along with other cultural events and programs throughout the area.