Celebrating the largest Chinese New Year bash outside of Asia

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May Lee with Harlan Wong and Rose Li May Lee sits down with Southwest Airlines Chinese New Year Parade and Festival director Harlan Wong and Miss Chinatown USA 2015, Rose Li.

Celebrating the Lunar New Year is highly anticipated not only in China, but by countless cultures around the globe.

In the United States, the Southwest Airlines Chinese New Year Parade and Festival in San Francisco has become the largest celebration of the Lunar New Year outside of Asia. It began in the 1860’s as the San Francisco’s Chinese community looked for a way to educate their new homeland about Chinese culture and share their culture with their non-Chinese neighbors.

Harlan Wong is the parade and festival director.

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“To me, the Chinese New Year is almost like Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Mardi Gras, all rolled into one. We pass out lucky money, red envelopes to anybody who is unmarried. And then, like Thanksgiving we have huge family gatherings. And like Mardi Gras, we celebrate with the biggest Chinese New Year parade in the U.S.,” explained Wong.

Celebrating the largest Chinese New Year bash outside of Asia

Harlan Wong, the director of the Southwest Airlines Chinese New Year Parade and Festival and Miss Chinatown USA 2015, Rose Li talk about the largest Chinese New Year celebration outside of Asia.

Also joining the discussion is Miss Chinatown USA 2015, Rose Li. A student at New York University’s Stern School of Business, she entered the competition to honor her heritage, showcase her extensive dance skills and take advantage of the pageant’s scholarship prize.

“It was an incredible experience,” said Li. “I think it’s a great opportunity to get to know the Chinese community more, so, I decided to do it.”

From San Francisco, Harlan Wong joined Rose Li and May Lee in our Los Angeles studio.