Celebrating the Year of the Dragon
CASEC's 2024 Lunar New Year Event Sets a Festive Tone in South Florida

Reported by Dr. Ming Fang, CASEC Media Team
Wednesday, February 7, 2024

North Miami, FL - The Lunar New Year, marking the transition from one zodiac sign to the next, holds profound cultural significance across many Asian communities, symbolizing renewal, family unity, and the hope for prosperity. On the evening of February 3rd, in collaboration with the City of North Miami, the Chinese Association of Science, Education and Culture of South Florida (CASEC) upheld this cherished tradition by hosting its legendary Lunar New Year celebration at the Scott Galvin Community Center in North Miami.

Welcoming the Year of the Dragon 2024, the event drew over 350 attendees into a vibrant showcase of cultural heritage, featuring calligraphy and traditional paper-cutting demonstrations, captivating performances, raffle drawings, and the presentation of community service awards. This annual celebration not only honors the rich traditions of the Lunar New Year but also strengthens the bonds within the Chinese American community in South Florida, fostering a sense of belonging and cultural pride, which perfectly aligns with CASEC’s mission.

The highlight of the celebration was undoubtedly the captivating array of cultural performances, beginning with the Dragon Dance, a fitting tribute to the Year of the Dragon. This traditional dance, symbolizing good luck and prosperity, set the stage for a night of unity and festivity, reflecting the vibrant spirit of the CASEC community. Among the dazzling performers was Sherry Yao, a professional young soprano with a voice as commanding as it is delicate. The stage also welcomed an assortment of local performing groups associated with CASEC, showcasing a wide range of talents from the community. Adults and children alike took to the stage, delivering performances that spanned the wide spectrum of Chinese cultural heritage—from the timeless elegance of classic dances to the dynamic flair of modern dances. The audience was treated to an eclectic mix of art forms, including traditional Chinese opera singing, traditional instrumental performance with Guzheng, western ballet, Indian dance, and regional Chinese dances like the Northwestern Dunhuang dance accompanied by the Pipa, Mongolian dance with chopsticks, and Southern China style dance with umbrellas. This diverse showcase was not just a display of cultural heritage but a vibrant feast for the senses, offering a panoramic view of the artistic richness that defines this Lunar New Year celebration.

Surely, the Lunar New Year celebration hosted by CASEC is not just about cultural performances, it also marks an occasion graced by important figures from the hosting city of North Miami, highlighting the event's significance beyond mere festivity. Vice Mayor Mary Estime-Irvin, Councilman Scott Galvin, and Councilman Pierre Frantz Charles were in attendance, demonstrating their unwavering support for the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community and the broader cause of diversity. Additionally, two members of North Miami's Commission for Women participated, further symbolizing the local government's commitment to inclusivity. During the event, CASEC's Chairwoman, Rui Falcon, delivered a celebratory speech, emphasizing the organization's dedication to enhancing diversity within local communities through its programming and outreach efforts. The celebration also served as a platform to honor three of CASEC's longstanding community leaders, Dr. Yaoyang Yan, Dr. Lian Mo, and Ms. Jinghong Meng, with community service awards, acknowledging their persistent contributions and dedication to the CASEC family. These awards underscored the importance of community leadership and the collective efforts to foster a more inclusive society.

The success of CASEC's Lunar New Year celebration is also attributed to the support of many organizations and individual sponsors, demonstrating a remarkable community effort. Generous contributors, including the New York Life Insurance Ms. Everlyn Tai's team, Princeton Assessment Management Mr. Adam Falcon, Yongmei Cai, CPA, Chow Time’s Ms. Yimei Zhang, the Florida Asian American Restaurant Alliance (FAARA), Ms. Yao Qi, Asian Market, Mr. Tom Ma, the American Chinese United Association-Florida Chapter (ACUA-FL), and Florida Asian American Justice Association (FAAJA), all played pivotal roles in making this celebration a huge success. Their contributions, alongside the tireless work of many volunteers who devoted their time and effort before, during, and after the celebration, were instrumental. Chairwoman Rui Falcon pointed out in her speech, "CASEC's adult and youth volunteers are the backbone of our society. Their selfless dedication to making our community a better place is truly commendable." Through this event, CASEC has effectively united community members, showcasing a powerful platform for strengthening the Chinese American coalition and reinforcing the bonds of community and cultural heritage.

The Lunar New Year celebration organized by CASEC not only marked a festive beginning to the Year of the Dragon but also heralded the start of a series of local South Florida community celebrations. As the first in a sequence of events that will unfold in the coming weeks, CASEC's celebration stands as an auspicious initiation of cultural festivities in the region. Interestingly, the timing of this event aligns with the start of Spring in the lunar calendar, a day following the celebration, imbuing the community with a sense of hope and prosperity. As we celebrate these traditions, we are reminded of the rich cultures that contribute to our vibrant community. CASEC's successful celebration is a testament to the strength and unity of our community, setting a positive tone for the future. We invite the South Florida community to participate in and support the forthcoming celebrations, as we continue to embrace and showcase our cultural heritage with pride and enthusiasm.