On Saturday and Sunday, Oakland’s Chinese community came out to buy, sell and celebrate at the New Year Lunar Bazaar. The bazaar, which was started by the Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce in 1991, takes place every year at 9th and Franklin Streets in the Pacific Renaissance Plaza. A stage in the middle of the plaza hosts dancers and martial artists, while vendors line the surrounding streets selling gifts, jewelry and food.
This year, Chinese New Year falls on February 3rd and ushers in the Year of the Rabbit, which is said to be a quiet period after the ferocious Year of the Tiger. Bazaar-goers welcomed this transition, chatting with family and friends, eating noodle dishes and other delicacies, and excitedly watching the Little Prince and Princess competition, a talent show for young children that culminates in a crowning ceremony. They also purchased copious amounts of flowers, primarily orchids—buying blossoms is a Chinese New Year tradition, symbolizing the imminent coming of spring.