Lunar New Year Celebration for South Pasadena Seniors

PHOTO: Alisa Hayashida | South Pasadena News | South Pasadena seniors enjoying the Lunar New Year luncheon at the War Memorial Building.

South Pasadena seniors were treated to a delightful celebration of the Lunar New Year, sponsored by the City and the South Pasadena Chinese American Club at the War Memorial Building on Wednesday January 25, 2023. The sold out crowd was welcomed by SPCC President Yuki Cutcheon who wished everyone a Happy Chinese New Year saying, “every year we are super excited about this event – we have delicious food and great entertainment to celebrate the Chinese New Year with us, so thank you all for being here.”

PHOTO: Alisa Hayashida | South Pasadena News | SPCC President Yuki Cutcheon welcomes guests to the Lunar New Year luncheon

Mayor Jon Primuth began by acknowledging the tragic events this past week in Monterey Park saying, “the events of the weekend were sobering to us, so on behalf of the city, we are making sure that we’ve got our planning, our training, all of the things that we need to be as safe as possible here in town. And so we will keep on celebrating and I’m so delighted to pack this room.” He then introduced city dignitaries in attendance from City Councilmember and former Mayor Michael Cacciotti, former City Councilmember and Mayor Bob Joe, City Treasurer Zhen Tao, PCC Trustee Kristine Kwong, the SPCC Board members, South Pasadena Chief of Police Brian Solinsky, Lieutenant Robledo and Lieutenant Jacobs from SPPD, City Manager Arminé Chaparyan, Deputy City Manager Domenica Megerdichian, Assistant to the City Manager Tamara Binns, Community Services Director Sheila Pautsch, Community Services Deputy Director Lucy Hakobian, Senior Center Supervisor Melissa Snyder, from Community Services – Jordan Bell, and Management Analyst Alison Wehrle.

PHOTO: Alisa Hayashida | South Pasadena News | Former Mayor Bob Joe with Mayor Jon Primuth at the Lunar New Year Luncheon.

Mayor Primuth had been talking to some of the dancers who told him they were from the inner Mongolian part of China. Our Mayor speaks Mandarin and has traveled extensively in China and so, he then proceeded to wish the crowd a Happy New Year and best wishes in Chinese and sing a traditional song that he learned on his travels to inner Mongolia. The dancers and the crowd were delighted.

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PHOTO: Alisa Hayashida | South Pasadena News | Dancers from Dancing Wing’s Studio perform at the Lunar New Year luncheon for South Pasadena seniors.

PCC Trustee Kristine Kwong said, “this year is the year of the rabbit and it is the luckiest of all the 12 zodiac animals – it represents peace, mercy, elegance and beauty. I just want to wish everyone a prosperous and joyous New Year.”

PHOTO: Alisa Hayashida | South Pasadena News | Seniors being served by SPCC board members at the Lunar New Year luncheon

Former Mayor and SPCC member, Bob Joe, gave the crowd a bit of Lunar New Year history explaining that Chinese New Year is a time for family and friends to gather to wish one another good health, prosperity and good luck and much happiness throughout the coming year. The celebrations traditionally consist of lion dances, dragon dances, fireworks, family meals and giving red envelopes. “Red envelopes are passed out during Chinese New Year from married couples or elders to unmarried juniors,” Joe explained, “the money is used to suppress evil spirits. The firecrackers are known for their deafening explosions, thought to scare away evil spirits and the burning of firecrackers also signifies a joyful time of year.” He went on to explain that red is a color of good luck and is worn for that reason as well as to ward off evil and bad fortune. People typically wear new clothes from head to toe to symbolize a new beginning and new year. “On this Chinese New Year I would like to wish everyone Gong Hay Fat Choy, which means cheers, a wish of luck, good health and a prosperous future!”

PHOTO: Alisa Hayashida | South Pasadena News | Seniors enjoy the Lunar New Year luncheon at the War Memorial Building.

SPCC VP of Culture, Sulynn Chee, presented a message from the club and introduced the dances, the first of which was a Mongolian dance entitled “Drawing a Portrait of You” danced by Anna Lu, Daisy Feng, Jocelyn Lee, May Xue and Sharon Huang. The dance represents true love and happiness. Next Daisy Feng danced a solo Tibetan Dance. Feng later danced another solo entitled “Looking Forward to Spring” and the final number was a duet performed by teacher Derek Ye and his student, Daisy Feng, called “Beautiful Butterfly Lovers” which represents the eternal love of a couple. The dancers were from Dancing Wing’s Studio and the crowd showed their appreciation with thunderous applause.

PHOTO: Alisa Hayashida | South Pasadena News | Dancer Daisy Feng performs a solo Tibetan Dance

The Lewis Family generously donated $750 for special Lunar New Year raffle prizes that were given out to very appreciative and enthusiastic winners. All the revelers agreed that the food, provided by SPCC, was delicious!

Once again, the Senior Center in partnership with the City and, on this special occasion, SPCC, put on a lively and festive luncheon that was thoroughly enjoyed by all in attendance. Thank you for making our seniors know what a vital part of our community they are!