For the uninitiated, ‘Gung Hay Fat Choy’ literally means ‘May prosperity be with you’ in Cantonese. On the occasion of the lunar new year, people wish each other with this greeting.
San Francisco has a sizable Chinese community and the largest Chinatown outside of Asia. In 1849, with the discovery of gold and the Gold Rush in California, a large number of people moved to California to seek fortune. Among these were many Chinese, who came to work in the gold mines and on the railroad. Today, Chinese New Year is celebrated in San Francisco with street festivals and a big parade with dragons, dancers, people carrying colorful flags, banners, lanterns, and drums and firecrackers to drive away evil spirits.
Whenever possible, I try and go to a Chinese New Year parade, for it gives me a glimpse into an ancient culture and its modern adaptations.
I photographed these Beijing Opera artists on the occasion of Chinese new year a couple of years back.
Gung Hay Fat Choy! Embrace the old, explore the new.