Gung Hay Fat Choy! Happy New Year!
AARP is proud to continue its support of the Chinese New Year Parade in San Francisco, the largest parade celebrating the lunar new year outside of Asia! AARP is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that works on behalf of our 38 million members nationally and 3.3 million members statewide to enhance the quality of life for all as we age. At AARP we believe that advancing age should not limit your power to choose how you live. That is why we are working locally to provide free resources and tools, as well as support virtual events like the parade, so you may persevere in 2021 with the strength of an Ox.
I have had the unique honor of participating in the parade and festival in-person these past few years. It’s amazing to see how they bring together millions of diverse individuals from various walks of life for one common goal – a joyous celebration of the new year, of hope and new beginnings. In years past, the parade has provided an opportunity to create memories and build connections that last a lifetime. From working the AARP booth and watching families line up around the block to spin a prize wheel, to gathering near our float with AARP California volunteers and staff to begin the parade – there is always an overwhelming sense of community and smiles ranging across generations.
“The Chinese New Year Parade brings me back to my childhood of visiting San Francisco’s Chinatown every weekend with my parents to buy Chinese groceries and inherently cementing my cultural roots,” noted Edie Yau, AARP California State Executive Council Volunteer. “It’s incredible to see the parade live on as it celebrates the vibrancy of Chinese culture that touches us all.”
Although we will not gather in person this year, my sentiments align with Edie’s. It is wonderful to have the opportunity to continue to celebrate the Chinese New Year Parade safely from home and bring the spirit of the “Ox”—strength, confidence and patience – into our homes.
“In these trying times, I am so happy to hear that the Chinese New Year Festival and Parade will carry on with a virtual celebration. People need touch stones that bolster their identities and unites communities to celebrate their heritage. As a teenager, I got to ride on the Los Angeles Chinatown Chinese New Year float, an experience I will never forget,” stated Clara Chiu, AARP Foundation Philanthropic Advisor. “When I last attended the San Francisco Chinese New Year parade with one of AARP Foundation’s supporters, we were so delighted by the excitement in the air and joyful anticipation on the faces of the kids who were either participating or watching. Through a child’s eyes, even on a cold day, it was heartwarming to see families enjoying the festivities together, across the generations from grandparents to infants. The virtual event will allow families to enjoy safely and for the tradition to continue. The pandemic will not disrupt the time-honored celebration and memories to be made.”
This year as part of the Lunar New Year celebrations sponsored by the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, AARP commissioned a local artist to create an ox statue that will live in San Francisco for a month and then be auctioned off with the proceeds going to benefit a local community partner, Self-Help for the Elderly, a non-profit organization that promotes the independence, well-being, and dignity for older adults through culturally aligned services. You can learn more about AARP’s Chinese New Year Parade in San Francisco efforts HERE and tune-in to the Parade Special airing on Saturday, February 20, 2021, at 6pm PST on KTVU Fox 2 and KTSF 26 to see our virtual float.
Wishing you all health and happiness in 2021,
AARP California Regional Manager
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