‘Proud of our Chinese culture and heritage’
Phoenix celebrates Year of the Boar at festival
Phoenix helped welcome the Year of the Boar Sunday at the 29th annual Phoenix Chinese Week’s Culture and Cuisine Festival at Margaret T. Hance Park.
The Phoenix Chinese Week Organization hosted a three-day event to celebrate the Chinese New Year, which was Tuesday, Feb. 5.
“We are so proud of our Chinese culture and heritage,” said Elaine Wong, the Phoenix Chinese Week president. “This is the Year of the Boar; it is year 4717, so we have over 5,000 years of rich history and information we want to share with the community.”
The Chinese zodiac is made up of 12 animals, the boar being the last animal of the 12-year cycle. Characteristics of an individual born in the year of a boar are cheerful, confident, and sincere.
The festival showcased traditional Chinese culture, education, and cuisine. Wong estimated there were about 30,000 attendees over the three-day festival.
“Our mission is to unify communities through diversity and sharing our culture,” Wong said.
Wong also talked about some of the Chinese New Year traditions, such as
cleaning the house before New Year’s to drive out evil spirits and welcome the good ones. If done on the actual day or after, there’s risk of sweeping out your good luck for this year.
The festival included a wide range of traditional Chinese attractions, such as photographs from renowned Chinese photographer Chen Baosheng, costume booths, and other activities, including mahjong.
The mahjong table was run by Sue Fong, 88, and Margie Gin, 85. The two have been playing for more than 50 years, and have even participated in mahjong marathons that have lasted more than 12 hours.
Fong said her favorite part of running the mahjong table at the festival is getting to meet new people and introducing them to an ancient game.
Gin said she liked helping people be aware of the game and get started playing it.
The festival showcased Chinese costumes, such as emperors and empresses, which attendees and dogs could wear for photographs.
Amy Ho, who runs the costume booth, said attendees got the opportunity to become fully immersed in Chinese culture.
During the three-day festival, Phoenix Chinese Week showcased many performances of martial arts, traditional folk dances, Beijing opera, and “face changing.”
“Face changing” is an ancient Chinese art, where opera performers wear brightly-colored masks and change “faces” instantaneously with a quick movement of a hand, a head, or a swipe of a fan. The mask resembles face paintings opposed to Western masks and made of thin clothes.
“The art of face changing is kept secret from generation to generation like the secrets of magicians,” said Meng Ansley, the Phoenix Chinese Week publicity coordinator.
Featured performers ranged in age from 4-years-old to adults in their 60’s, said Eva Aoi, a past Phoenix Chinese Week president and the current chairwoman for performances.
“Our mission is to promote Chinese culture. This is a great venue for us to show everyone a bit of our culture,” Aoi said. “So it’s a way to let everyone learn a little bit more and, by understanding each other’s culture, we will be able to get along better — which is the most important part.”
The Hope Chinese School performs at the Chinese Week Culture and Cuisine Festival in Margaret T. Hanse Park on Sunday.
Elicio Peña (left) and Timothy Yi take part in the NB Taekwondo demo performance at the Chinese Week Culture and Cuisine Festival.
Sally Cao (right) takes a photo of Shirley Chin, of the Hope Chinese School, at the Chinese Week Culture and Cuisine Festival.