Celebrations for Lunar New Year under way: Festival takes place in Kearny Mesa

Events scheduled throughout San Diego

SAN DIEGO - A three-day festival to celebrate the Lunar New Year is scheduled to begin Friday in Kearny Mesa to usher in the Year of the Snake.

The event, which begins at 5 p.m. at Kearny Mesa Park, is hosted by the Little Saigon Foundation and is geared toward the Vietnamese community. About 10,000 people are expected to attend.

The festival opens at 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, the actual day of the Lunar New Year. The festival will include 100 vendor booths, 16 carnival rides, live music and entertainment, lion dances and, on Sunday, the Miss Vietnam Traditional Dress Pageant.

An Asian cultural village will be laid out in a ying-yang style and contain a replica of an 11th century Buddhist temple built in Vietnam – called the One-Pillar Pagoda. Festival organizers say the once-childless King Ly Thai Tong had the wooden pagoda built as a sign of gratitude for the birth of his son.

According to tradition, the snake is in sixth position of the 12-sign Asian zodiac and symbolizes intelligence, gracefulness and materialism. The hanban.com website on Chinese culture calls the Year of the Snake one for steady progress, attention to detail and discipline.

Other celebrations are scheduled for the following weekend, including the Tet Festival in Mira Mesa and a Chinese-themed event in the Gaslamp Quarter.

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