The Year of the Rooster has officially arrived, but, of course, celebrations, ceremonies, moments of reflection, and traditional lion dances started up, with songs and movement and joy, around Southern California earlier in January.
The arrival of the big day, though, means big gatherings for the holiday's opening weekend.
Saturday, Jan. 28 saw the start of the Lunar New Year, and celebrations will continue to flower around the region, like so many hue-lovely chrysanthemums or satsumas, in the days ahead.
One of the largest happenings on the area calendar is the Lunar New Year Festival in Monterey Park. True, you might have seen this huge street fair on the Monterey Park schedule earlier in January, but due to the hard rains over the third weekend in January, the festival jumped a week forward (and is happening through Sunday, Jan. 29).
That means you still have time to step into the "(s)even blocks of entertainment, food, family activities and vendors" around the downtown area. Just head for Garvey Avenue (the stretch between Alhambra and Ramona Avenues).
Is it free? You bet. Will you see a lion dance, admire the fascinating dough sculptures often seen around the dawn of a new year, watch martial arts in action, and dine upon traditional Chinese dishes, from noodles to meats to sweets?
All of that (and, for sure, bring some cash to nosh).
If you want to welcome the Year of the Rooster, and you find yourself in the mid-city area in the afternoon on Jan. 29, stop by the Original Farmers Market, which will have dancing, eats, and 430-pound steel rooster sculpture to admire.
Can't make the daytime to-do? The rooster will be on display through Sunday, Feb. 12.
More Lunar New Year celebrations are just ahead, with the famous, huge, vibrant, and oh-so-venerable Golden Dragon Parade set to make its way through Chinatown on Saturday, Feb. 4.