Performers attend the annual carnival parade of Chinese New Year in San Francisco, the United States, on Feb. 24, 2018. About a million local residents and visitors Saturday packed both sides of the main streets and narrow alleys in San Francisco's Chinatown on the U.S. west coast, basked in the largest annual carnival parade of Chinese New Year outside China. (Xinhua/Dong Xudong)
SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 24 (Xinhua) -- About a million local residents and visitors Saturday packed both sides of the main streets and narrow alleys in San Francisco's Chinatown on the U.S. west coast, basked in the largest annual carnival parade of Chinese New Year outside China.
The San Francisco parade marking the Chinese New Year of the Dog featured the spectacular dance of a 88-meter long Golden Dragon, gorgeous floats, elaborate costumes, firecrackers, performances by marching bands of schools in San Francisco and stilt dancing.
The San Francisco parade, which could be dated back to the 1860s as a means of education about cultural heritage in the local Chinese community, has grown to be the largest celebration of Asian culture and one of the few remaining night illuminated festive events in North America.
Saturday's parade was sponsored by the U.S. Southwest Airlines, a major U.S. airline headquartered in Dallas, Texas and the world's largest low-cost carrier.
During the celebrations in the second largest Chinatown in the United States, which is only behind the one in New York City, revelers aged from kindergarten kids to gray-haired seniors, were all immersed in a festive atmosphere hectic with opulent fresh foods, lavish music, performance of folk songs, and thunderous drumming shows.
"Here comes dog!" a one-year-old girl sitting on the shoulders of his father exclaimed joyfully.
She pointed at "a huge dog" played by a middle school student in a cartoon costume, who ran and jumped briskly toward spectators giving them a "high five" - a hand gesture of joys and cheerfulness.
The father, who identified himself as Wayne Bruce, said it was awesome to watch such huge celebrations of the Chinese lunar New Year here in Chinatown.
"The young kids from an martial art academy were unbelievable," the 28-year engineer told Xinhua, referring to a group of boys and girls who played as Monkey King with the Golden Hooped Rods flying up and down in their hands.
"I hope my kid will have all the magic power of Monkey King," he said jokingly.
"I love Chinese traditional culture, but it's really hard to learn Chinese language," he said, adding "I hope that would not keep me back."
A girl from a Chinese language school in Chinatown nearby said she was fascinated by the huge dragon that had twisted his body and tail down the road.
"It looks awesome, marvelous," she said.
"My dad is an American and mommy comes from China," she noted, saying that she learned from her books that dragon dance is a strong symbol of Asian culture.
"They say the dragon dancing takes away the bad spirit, and I believe it too," she said.
The annual grand celebration of the Chinese New Year, which began on Feb. 16 this year, closed most of the traffic in Chinatown from late afternoon to the early hour of Saturday night.