San Francisco holds grand parade to ring in Year of Rat

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San Francisco held an annual grand parade Saturday to ring in the Chinese Lunar New Year of the Rat, with tens of thousands of residents and visitors showing up for the U.S. city's century-old tradition of the Chinese community.

The 2020 Lunar New Year parade, hosted by the San Francisco Chinese Chamber of Commerce, greatly entertained the spectators who packed both sides of the streets downtown to watch glistening floats adorned with auspicious signs, flowers, twinkling stars, legendary gods in traditional Chinese culture, as well as lovely cartoons such as the zodiac Rat for this year.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed and Chinese Consul General in San Francisco Wang Donghua attended the event, the biggest parade to celebrate the Lunar New Year outside of Asia, which started in the 1860s.

Participants from hundreds of organizations from the Bay Area, including art troupes, Chinese Kung Fu groups, school bands, government agencies and businesses sang and danced along a 3.2-km route starting from the city's financial area of Market Street to the destination in Chinatown, where Breed and Wang ignited two 200,000-firecracker rolls that brought the procession to a climactic end amid thundering explosions of firecrackers.

Alfred Drees, a San Francisco native, told Xinhua that he had been out for the Chinese parade 17 times, and his last celebration of the Year of the Rat was in 1996, which left him with a vivid and unforgettable impression.

Ken Spiegelman, who recently moved from New York to California, said it was the first time for him to watch the parade in San Francisco.

"I've never seen the parade in San Francisco, and this one is much bigger than the one in Manhattan. It was always a lot of fun," he said. 

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