Performers from the Northern Shaolim Kung Fu Association perform the lion dance for onlookers at the USC Pacific Asia Museum’s 5th annual lunar new year celebration, on Saturday January 31, 2015. (Michael Osborne/Courier)

 

Dancers from the Guangdong delegation in colorful costume preform for a large crowd at the USC Pacific Asia Museum on January 31, 2015. (Michael Osborne/Courier)
Dancers from the Guangdong delegation in colorful costume preform for a large crowd at the USC Pacific Asia Museum on January 31, 2015. (Michael Osborne/Courier)

USC’s Pacific Asia Museum hosted its 5th Annual Lunar New Year’s festival last Saturday to celebrate the Year of the Sheep.

The event coincided with SoCal Museum and Metro’s Museum Free-For-All, allowing access to the performances, puppet shows, artist demonstrations, and access to museum galleries that were free and open to the public.

The festival celebrated the cultures of not just China but also Korea, Cambodia, and Vietnam—countries that all celebrate Lunar New Year as well. PAM invited over 40 performers for the event, including an elaborate “Lion Dance,” a Chinese traditional dance meant to show respect and honor for special guests.

“People often mistake that Lunar New Years only applies to Chinese culture, but that is not the case,” said USC PAM director, Christina Yu Yu. “We are a museum dedicated to the culture of Asia and the Pacific Islands, so it’s just very appropriate for us to host this event to celebrate those cultures.”

Attendees were able to enjoy activities and shows such as artists demonstrating traditional pottery painting and lantern making, puppet shows that told stories about war and love, beautiful women performing traditional Vietnamese dances, and Taekwondo martial arts.

The event was also an easy way for the Asian community to get in touch with their roots, while allowing others to learn about the dynamic cultures and traditions of Asian Americans.

“This is my second year coming to the Lunar New Year event,” said Pasadena local Patrice Chen. “It’s a fun way for my two sons, who were both born here [in the U.S.], to learn about their culture … I think Asian cultures tend to be overshadowed or very westernized, despite the many immigrants in the U.S. Events like this prove to us that we are not forgotten.”

According to Yu Yu, USC PAM was expected to host around 5,000 to 6,000 guests for the Lunar New Years festival.

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