In "Alhambra Characters" we highlight our favorite snippets from past interviews. The series puts a spotlight on Alhambra's diverse and vibrant cast of denizens.
Pinki Chen has been organizing Alhambra's Lunar New Year festival for over 20 years. Chen says that this year attendees will get photo opportunities with "happy sheep" images, which have become a popular item in China. As for her long tenure as the organizer, Chen said that she doesn't plan on retiring unless there's a suitable replacement. In 2011 she talked with the Source about the long process of planning a festival, how people in China don't realize that Americans celebrate the Chinese New Year, and how the festivities are different in China.
You go to China often. When you tell people there that you organize a Lunar New Year festival in America, what do they say?
They’re always amazed. They never realize the large number of overseas Chinese population in the world, not just in the US, but in Africa, England, all over the world. I think they take comfort that after half a century abroad [as immigrants in the US], people still celebrate the Chinese holidays.
We know there are a lot of superstitions around Chinese New Year, like not cutting your hair and cleaning like crazy. What are some others?
You're not supposed to work because then you'll spend the whole year working.
How do you deal with that?
I work. That's why I'm working all year!
The Alhambra Lunar New Year Festival will be on Feb. 21, 10AM to 5PM, along Valley Boulevard between Garfield and Almansor. The festival is accompanied by a 3-week art exhibit at City Hall.