On Sunday I stopped by the Monterey Park Lunar New Year Festival with my family. For two days, the organizers blocked off several blocks of bustling Garvey Avenue to make room for street food vendors, trinket sellers, and corporate sponsors giving away free goodies. While most of the vendors were speaking Mandarin or Cantonese, there were a few booths from non-Sinophone cultures: an Indomie booth, a booth selling dry pho noodles, and a booth promoting tolerance of Islam (with one of the few banners that was in English only).
The Chinese are not the only ethnic group that celebrates new year according to the Chinese lunar calendar. Calling this a “lunar new year” festival rather than a “Chinese new year” festival is a deliberately inclusive choice. This event draws in visitors from across Southern California, not just heavily Chinese Monterey Park, and even if the event is sponsored by a Chinese newspaper and most of the vendors are Chinese, they were expecting people from many different ethnic groups.