fbpx

We Need You!

Make A Donation

Donor Supporters

Elba Alonso de Ortega

I’m a lifelong resident of Alhambra and having a local newspaper, like Alhambra Source, is very important to me. It’s the only way to know the issues that will directly affect my day to day, where I live. That’s why I decided to support Alhambra Source with a monthly donation.

Efren Moreno, Former Alhambra Mayor

Thank you Alhambra Source for truly informing the residents of Alhambra.

Jeff Maloney, Alhambra City Council Member

The Source has become an important source for news, public interest, and serious journalism in our community. Keep it up!

Chris Olson

I support Alhambra Source as often as I can because I believe a free and independent press is vital to the democratic process. No other news outlet with high journalistic standards consistently covers the stories and issues that matter to our community.

Adele Andrade Stadler, Alhambra Mayor

The Source is a great independent newspaper that celebrates the communities and is not afraid to ask the tough questions!

Cliff Bender, Vice President, Alhambra Education Foundation

Alhambra Source is the ONLY independent news source covering the events, culture and government of our city. We need it to stay informed and aware!

Joyce & Oscar Amaro, Alhambra Preservation Group

We support Alhambra Source because this online news source is vitally important in engaging, informing and educating the residents of Alhambra.

Jose Aguayo

I support the Alhambra Source because journalism will always be part of that fourth branch of our democracy. The Alhambra Source provides me with news that helps me make informed decisions about issues that matter to me and my community. Thank you for the work you do.

Michael Lawrence, Alhambra Arts Commissioner

Keep bringing on the stories. The Source has given us so much and I am happy to donate to such an important part of our community.

Karsen Luthi

Thank you for creating Alhambra Source and providing timely reporting of important local news. Fight on!

Shirley Tatsuno

I support Alhambra Source for their detailed information about important Alhambra issues and compelling human-interest stories.

Tammie Leung

I support local news - it’s important to know what is happening in our communities.

The petite and powerful force behind Alhambra’s Lunar New Year festivities

Dragon boats, Chinese calligraphers and bunny rabbits will descend on Valley Boulevard on Saturday for the San Gabriel Valley Lunar New Year Festival. While 25,000 people are expected to be celebrating in Alhambra, behind the scenes a petite, extremely energetic Chinese woman will be bustling around making sure it all runs smoothly.

“It was quite by accident that I became an event organizer,” said Pinki Chen, owner of K&K Communications. "It started 19 years ago, when the former council member and mayor, Paul Talbot, [and now the city manager of Monterey Park] realized the Asian population had increased and that there was a need — and opportunity — to showcase the culture.” Six years later Chen was tapped to organize the event and ever since has been the mastermind and key to success behind the festival. The Alhambra Youth Feed spoke with Chen as she took a rare pause before the final preparation push.

What are some of the highlights and traditional elements for the Alhambra Lunar New Year festival this year?

We have a calligrapher at Chase Bank so people can write the New Years greetings. Red paper. It symbolizes luck, good health, prosperity. People put it on the door or window. Children can do the brush pen or ink to write the calligraphy. And after they’re done they’ll receive a red envelope carrying money.

How much money?

$1. For Christmas you give presents to the little ones in your family. In China they give the red envelope with money.

What about new things this year?

We always center around the coming zodiac which this year is the rabbit. There will be bunnies and rabbits walking around. There will also be two real dragon boats on Valley Boulevard. People can get into the dragon boats and play with the paddles.

We have heard there isn't going to be a parade, how come?

Just the economy – and we felt that it's not necessary to have a parade.

You go to China often. When you tell people there that you organize a Lunar New Year festival, 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 people still celebrate the Chinese holidays.

How's the parade different here than in China?

I think times have changed in China. In the old days in the agricultural society people would only buy new clothes, new shoes, a few times a year. I remember when I was younger people didn't have so many things, so they would clean the house for two weeks and buy new clothes for the children. But now people are buying clothes all the time.

Everyone is in transit for the holiday in China. It's just like Thanksgiving and Christmas here. Heading home is always a big deal. In China they go to the big city to work. Only two three times they have enough holidays to go home. Sometimes they don’t even see their children, their spouse. That’s a very prescious time for them to go. For us here, we just get together and have a meal at home or go to a restaurant. Here we don’t have the transportation problem, maybe just some traffic.

What's the process of setting up for the parade?

We close the street the night before at around 9:30 pm. The contractors will work overnight to set it up. But I started really working on it in August, September, and things get heavier in October.

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 Lunar New Year Festival will be Saturday on Valley Boulevard between Garfield and Almansor. The festival is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is free. More information is available at www.lunarnewyearparade.com.

Independent journalism is a bedrock of democracy--and it's in crisis. Here at the Alhambra Source, we're committed to covering the local stories that matter most to you. We don’t have advertisers and we don’t have pay walls, but we do have bills. You read to the end of this story. That's great. But this kind of journalism will end without public support. Join us! Support the work and the democratic values it serves. Donate now!

The Alhambra Source encourages comment on our stories. However, we do not vet comments for accuracy or endorse links to posts in the comment section. The thoughts and opinions expressed belong solely to the author of the comment.

Leave a Reply

1 thought on “The petite and powerful force behind Alhambra’s Lunar New Year festivities”

  1. Mrs. Chen puts so much time and effort into organizing this festival and it looks like it’s well worth the effort to expose people to the cultural significance and fun aspects of this day.

    Happy Chinese New Year everyone!

Subscribe to our

Weekly Newsletter