33¢ Year of the Dragon
Chinese New Year
Issue Date: January 6, 2000
City: San Francisco, CA
Printed By: Sterling Sommer
Printing Method: Lithographed
The Chinese New Year parade in San Francisco is the most spectacular event celebrating the holiday outside of China. This year, millions of television viewers and 650,000 spectators are participating in the 149th parade.
The origin of the New Year Festival is too old to trace. But according to one legend, a man-eating-dragon called Nian (“year in Chinese) terrorized China until an old man convinced it to stop. People hung red decorations at year’s end to scare Nian away just incase it returned. Today, Chinese people still put up red decorations and set off firecrackers to scare Nain and other evil spirits away.
By the mid-1800s, the lure of gold or jobs building the railroads had brought many Chinese immigrants to America. After settling in San Francisco, they began to seek ways to celebrate and share their culture. They chose a favorite American tradition to do this – a parade.
The parade in San Francisco begins at Market and Second streets. Each participant is required to focus their float or routine on Chinese culture. In 2000, the parade honors the “Year of the Dragon.” Bands, marital arts groups, acrobats, stilt walkers, and fireworks are just part of the celebration. New in 2000 was a 200-foot golden dragon. It required about 100 people working in teams to keep it winding through the streets.