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Happy Chinese New Year!

SAN FRANCISCO – A visit to San Francisco’s Chinatown is always interesting, but a trip during Chinese New Year could be a trip of a lifetime. This year Chinese New Year falls on Thursday, Feb. 19, but events in San Francisco related to the holiday run from late January until early March. In addition to traditional dances, Chinese New Year is marked by the color red displayed prominently everywhere. San Francisco also holds concerts and a new year’s run to honor the event. Chinatown’s New Year parade this year will be held on Saturday, March 7, followed by a street fair throughout the area.

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Photo by San Francisco Travel Association/Scott Chernis

Dragon dancers usually turn out for Chinese New Year celebrations. Often confused with lion dancers, the dragon dance involves more than two dancers and the dragon itself is held up on poles. The longer the dragon, the better the luck in the new year.

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Photo by San Francisco Travel Association/Corbett Lee

Street fairs and parades mark the New Year celebrations in San Francisco’s Chinatown.

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Photo by San Francisco Travel Association/Corbett Lee

A pair of lion dancers travels through the parade route in San Francisco. Chinatown in San Francisco is the oldest in the western hemisphere.

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Photo by San Francisco Travel Association/Scott Chernis

Chinatown in San Francisco draws more visitors to the city each year than does the Golden Gate Bridge, but also is a vibrant community on its own. The community has become big enough that three other, smaller Chinese neighborhoods have been established in the city.

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Photo by San Francisco Travel Association/Corbett Lee

A troupe of lion dancers are a typical way to bring in the new year in Chinatown. Today marks the beginning of the Year of the Sheep and farewell to the Year of the Horse. The Chinese symbol for sheep also can mean goat or ram, but whatever animal is used heralds a year of promise and prosperity.

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