Immigrants Find A Slice Of Home At Phoenix Chinese Culture And Cuisine Festival

By Bridget Dowd
Published: Saturday, February 17, 2018 - 4:35pm
Updated: Saturday, February 17, 2018 - 10:38pm

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Children perform during the Chinese Culture and Cuisine Festival in Phoenix Feb. 17.
(Photo by Bridget Dowd - KJZZ)
Children perform during the Chinese Culture and Cuisine Festival in Phoenix Feb. 17.

This weekend’s Chinese Culture and Cuisine Festival in Phoenix began Friday, the first day of the Chinese New Year. The festival helps immigrants feel more at home and preserves Chinese culture in Arizona.

Hua Chen was born in China in Phoenix’s sister city, Chengdu. She came to Arizona when she was 8 years old. Chen was at the festival volunteering for the Phoenix Sister Cities Chengdu Committee booth. She said the Chinese New Year is usually spent eating and playing games with several generations of family members

“Celebrating here in Arizona is a little bit different because I just have my parents,” Chen said. “But having community events like that is a way of sort of feeling that celebratory atmosphere. You don’t get Chinese New Year off. Although, this year we get Presidents Day!”

Phoenix Sister Cities Chengdu Committee members pose at their booth at the Chinese Culture and Cuisine Festival in Phoenix Feb. 17. Hua Chen (right) was born in Chengdu and came to Arizona at the age of eight.
(Photo by Bridget Dowd - KJZZ)
Phoenix Sister Cities Chengdu Committee members pose at their booth at the Chinese Culture and Cuisine Festival in Phoenix Feb. 17. Hua Chen (right) was born in Chengdu and came to Arizona at the age of eight.

Chen added that she experienced a bit of shock when she came back from college in Boston and didn’t see as much diversity. She said festivals like this one are important to preserving various cultures in Arizona.

"Instead of giving off that essence of ‘Arizona is so white,’ if you have more of these cultural activities and awareness of all the cultural communities that are here, it would feel less white and more diverse," Chen said.

Danhua Jin is from China and has been living in the United States for three years.  

“This is my culture,” Jin said. “In the Chinese New Year the whole family will be together to celebrate and it’s a very big thing for us. So this lets me think about my country and my culture.”

The festival runs through Sunday and features Chinese food, performances and booths.

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