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The Lunar Festival: Preserving Years Of History

1040 words - 5 pages

January 29th, 2011 marked the first Lunar Festival held in downtown Riverside, California. This festival welcomes the first day of a new year in the Chinese calendar. The same event was held again on January 28th of 2012, and recently on January 26th, 2013. Even though this holiday is widely observed by Chinese Americans across various parts of the country, this was only made recent two years ago in the Inland Empire. APCA (the Asian Pacific Cultural Association) made this possible with the help of its major sponsor, ICA (Inland Chinese Association). APCA and ICA are both nonprofit organizations located in downtown Riverside. The first festival in 2011 marked the beginning of a celebration ...view middle of the document...

Chinese immigrants began to migrate to California during the Gilded Age in 19th century. A few years after this movement into California, an incident occurred. Approximately eighteen to eighty-five Chinese residents in Los Angeles were murdered in the Chinese Massacre of 1871. The racial discrimination against Chinese immigrants became more evident when the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was signed and afflicted them for many years. Chinese and other people of Asian descent were often referred to as “Yellow Peril,” a derogatory term to describe the Asian race. They were also called “chinks,” “bug eaters,” and “fobs,” meaning “fresh off the boat.” Many people at the time also claimed to have “sinophobia,” which was an anti-Chinese sentiment ideal meaning the fear or dislike of Chinese people. The Chinese labored for large projects such as the First Transcontinental Railroad, yet the government denied them of citizenship and fundamental rights. Other races berated and harassed the Asian community. Davis was well aware of this racial history, she recognized this racial past, and wanted to create an event that would celebrate the strength and accomplishments of the Chinese community. Despite the troubles they encountered, they eventually established a home in California. Therefore, the Lunar Festival not only serves as a crucial reminder of California’s past and what the Asian community has endured, but also a commemoration of their progress.
The Lunar Festival has gradually become an annual celebration for APCA. Even though Davis faced obstacles throughout the process of the first festival, she was rewarded with thousands of attendees. Roughly 15,000 to 20,000 people swarmed the event in the first year then approximately 35,000 in the second year. As part of raising awareness to Asian cultures, APCA provided various interactive activities within the festival. There were four stages with assorted events: the main stage, the inner section, and two library stages – all of which included martial arts, costumes, and music. Alongside the activities, there were cuisines from countries such as Korea, Japan, China, and Viet Nam; there were also costumes and crafts to...

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