Tuesday saw celebrations all over San Diego as the Lunar New Year marked the start of the Year of the Pig. 

“It’s one of the most fun and exciting holidays there is,” said Yen Tu, the Interim CEO of the Asian Business Association and a volunteer of the Chinese Historical Museum in downtown San Diego. “We celebrate for a long time and it’s all about family.” 

The museum had festive decorations Tuesday to celebrate the New Year, like lions, dragons and lanterns. 

“Lions and lanterns ward off bad luck and bring good luck for the New Year,” said Tu. 

The holiday in mainland China is marked by the biggest annual travel boom as hundreds of millions of people visit their home towns or travel abroad.

The railway ministry forecast mainland travelers would make 413 million trips during the three-week period around the holiday.

Chinese set off billions of fireworks to celebrate the new year. An explosion at an illegal fireworks shop in southern China killed five people early Tuesday. Investigators said it was triggered by fireworks set off by the shopkeeper outside the shop.

This week, the San Diego Lunar New Year Festival at SDCCU Stadium was celebrated Feb. 1-3. 

For those that missed that festival, the San Diego Tet Festival takes place February 8-10 at the Mira Mesa Community Park. It is free to the public. 

The local Vietnamese community said they had a lot to celebrate this Lunar New Year. A new freeway sign will soon mark the Little Saigon District. 

The signs read “Little Saigon, Next Exit,” and will hang on the transit center that passes over I-15 at El Cajon Boulevard. Caltrans said they will install the signs in the coming days.

“Everybody is now talking about it in the community,” said Su Nguyen of the San Diego Little Saigon Foundation. “Together with celebrating the Lunar New Year, it’s a gift.” 

The Little Saigon District, a six-block corridor of Vietnamese restaurants and shops along El Cajon Boulevard and University Avenue in City Heights, was officially recognized by the city of San Diego in 2013 as the Vietnamese epicenter of San Diego.

Assemblymember Todd Gloria was among a group of local representatives that pushed the state to add the new freeway signs above the freeway Friday. 

In Bangkok, the holiday was celebrated as people lit incense sticks and burned paper money and other symbolic offerings for deceased relatives despite government appeals to avoid contributing to smog.

Credit: NBC San Diego.

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