What started as a yearly cultural recognition celebration blossomed into an honest appreciation for the major event.
Ever since my freshman year in high school I have been involved with the Lunar New Year in some capacity. Although my connection to the celebration has only concluded its fifth year now, I feel immensely happy whenever this time rolls around. The high school years of celebrating involved a talent cultural show where students based in Asian history, along with some friends who might not fit that bill (me), could perform any type of act they wanted to. Fun rock bands were a favorite, a lovely erhu piece was an important staple to the show, and any number and forms of dancing stole the stage. I am proud and honored to say I eventually gathered the courage to join a Kpop dance group and performed in front of all my peers and teachers my senior year! I could not be happier with embracing this celebration and could not be more thankful for my school exposing me to it.
So I graduated. What now? As the time rolls around, I receive another opportunity to come to Universal Studios Hollywood and check out how they celebrate and bring in the new year! Ecstatic doesn't describe what I felt.
As my friend, Rachel, and I stepped into the park, we could feel the cultural shift in the air. The scent of Mr. Ping's Noodle Shop hit my nose pretty fast, so we decided to test the food first! Now I can't say much about authenticity, but the range of food options tasted incredible it was hard to believe they could produce so much food for so many visitors and have it taste perfect every time! After roaming around the center plaza and writing a wish and attaching it to a blossom tree, we decided to head over to the Dreamwork's Kung Fu Panda attraction, a great innovation in 4-D cinema with independently moving chairs and interactive lights and water guns. This was a fun respite to allow us to digest our food and continue on our cultural journey through the park.
After about an hour of riding some rides we missed before, we decided to check out the shops. The Hello Kitty shop transformed to celebrate the New Year and the decorations looked incredible! The whole effort from the park felt real and impassioned because it knew it had to wow all of its visitors and show them just what the New Year could look like! For anyone still interested in going in Los Angeles, the Lunar New Year celebration is running through February 18, so think fast! All I can say is that it is more than worth it.