Whenever I see the commercial for the Chinese New Year’s Parade in SF, which is billed as the “largest Chinese New Year’s Parade on the west coast,” I can’t help but to think how artificial Chinese New Year has become in America.
Maybe I’ve just read one too many Asian American studies book, but I can’t help but think how fake it is. Chinese New Year’s in America, for what it’s worth, is now just as “Chinese” as fortune cookies and orange chicken–which is to say, not Chinese at all. Like fortune cookies and orange chicken, Chinese New Year’s Parade is made for white people.
Sorry, but I lived the first 11 years of my life in China, and that’s not how I celebrated the lunar new year in China. Nobody held any parades. If you told me in ’96 that CNY is celebrated with a giant parade in a geographic location specifically designated as “Chinatown,” I would have laughed at you.
The REAL way to celebrate CNY in China is to make a shitload of dumplings on CNY Eve, watch the state-sponsored TV, and then staying up all night to set off firecrackers which are illegally procured.