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Artistic Inspiration

2015 Chinese New Year: Celebrating the Year of the Ram in Los Angeles

116th Golden Dragon Parade and Entry Gate to Historic Chinatown ; Photos by Grace Lennon

The 2015 Lunar New Year, also called Spring Festival or Chinese New Year, occurred on February 19th and marked the beginning of the Year of the Ram. Being the most artistic of the zodiac animals, the ram heralds a year of creative potential and energy. With Los Angeles boasting one of the most diverse Asian populations in the world, festivals and events across the city allowed for residents to celebrate the new year in style, from a century-old Chinatown parade to shopping centers showcasing elaborate displays. Listed below are some of Los Angeles' most famous New Years events.

Thien Hau Temple ; Photo by Grace Lennon

Thien Hau Temple -Interior ; Photo by Grace Lennon

Midnight Temple Ceremony

LA Chinatown kicks off the Year of the Ram at Thien Hau Temple (750 Yale Street) in a rich cultural and historical celebration on Chinese New Year Eve. Attendees participated in traditional incense burning, made offerings to deities, watched dramatic lion dances, and witnessed 500,000 firecrackers lit by the 2015 Miss Chinatown Queen and Court at one of Los Angeles's grandest temples.

116th Golden Dragon Parade ; Photos by Grace Lennon

116th Golden Dragon Parade

The celebration continued through Saturday, Feb. 21st, with the 116th Annual Golden Dragon Parade, the oldest parade of its kind in America. Tens of thousands of people crowded the streets to witness spectacular floats, decked-out cars, and bands as they paraded through the heart of Los Angeles's historic Chinatown. Fireworks crackled in the street and confetti rained down along the route as dancers and other performers displayed their talents.

Chinese New Years Festival ; Photos by Grace Lennon

The Chinese New Years Festival

The Chinese New Year Festival, located throughout historic Chinatown, ran from morning to night on the same day as the parade. The festival included stages hosting bands and dancing, arts, children's activities and hands-on cultural workshops. Restaurants offered traditional Chinese cuisine, while some of LA's hottest gourmet food trucks lined the alleys and streets. The color red was dominant throughout the festival, from the signage to the rows of red lanterns. Traditionally, this color brings good luck and is an overall theme for all New Years festivities.

The Grove Displays ; Photos by Frances Peurach (Permission Granted)

Chinese New Years at the Grove

The Grove, the outdoor shopping center located Midtown, celebrated Chinese New Year during the entire week with beautiful displays of red lanterns and colorful dragon sculptures. Sprinkles offered holiday-themed cupcakes, while nightly choreographed shows boasted from its red-dyed fountain.

To find out more about Chinese New Year and LA's Historic Chinatown, visit http://www.chinatownla.com/.