Thousands gather for Lunar New Year parades in SF, NYC Chinatown

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Tens of thousands of people gathered over the weekend to welcome the Year of the Dragon at the annual Lunar New Year parades in San Francisco and New York City’s Chinatowns.

Why it matters: The parades are part of a week-long celebration for multiple cities across the United States that bring together millions of Asian American communities to celebrate their culture and tradition with other communities in a show of solidarity.

How San Francisco celebrated: The San Francisco parade kicked off with Grand Marshal Awkwafina, whose real name is Nora Lum, lighting the ceremonial firecrackers on Saturday. Beginning at Market and 2nd Street, the parade then proceeded to Geary Street, Powell Street, Post Street, Kearny Street to Columbus Avenue and disbanded between Pacific and Washington, according to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

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Some of the festivity's highlights included a 300-foot dragon imported from China and carried by dozens of dancers for the parade, and five wooden dragon statues created by local artists for the Lunar New Year celebration that were placed across the city. There was also dancing, music, lion dance performances and a brief kung fu display during the parade.

Some of the attendees at the celebration reportedly included San Francisco Mayor London Breed, Democratic State Assemblymember Phil Ting and U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

How New York Celebrated: The parade in New York City transformed the city’s Chinatown in Manhattan into a spectacle filled with decorations highlighting Asian culture and tradition.

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The parade kicked off along Mott Street and Canal Street before moving to Chatham Square, East Broadway, the Manhattan Bridge, Forsyth Street, Grand Street and ending next to Sara D. Roosevelt Park.

Attendees, some of whom included New York City Mayor Eric Adams, who recently hosted a Lunar New Year celebration on Thursday, and parade grand marshals Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Gov. Kathy Hochul (D-NY), were presented with live music, beautifully colored floats and lion dances. Approximately 500,000 people attended New York City's Chinatown parade, reported PIX11.

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What people are saying: In an interview with KTVU at the San Francisco parade, Awkwafina, who also promoted her starring role in the upcoming “Kung Fu Panda 4,” said she was honored to be named grand marshal this year.

“I love San Francisco because the community here is so strong, and I can feel it,” Akwafina said.

Speaking about New York City's parade, Governor Kathy Hochul said, “I want to make sure everyone knows how incredibly strong this community is,” according to Audacy.

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