Celebrate Saṅkrānta in Long Beach
For the first time, Saṅkrānta, the New Year’s celebration observed throughout much of Southeast Asia, will be officially celebrated in Long Beach, Saturday April 1 at Long Beach City College Pacific Coast Campus.
Though a first, the celebration, organized by Councilwoman Suely Saro, the United Cambodian Community and LBCC, certainly isn’t holding back on events and attractions. In fact, this Saṅkrānta (pronounced San-Kran) event is so big and varied that it will take place in two separate “Zones” and take up pretty much all of Saturday.
Events begin in each zone at Long Beach City College Pacific Coast Campus (1305 E. Pacific Coast Hwy.) at 8 a.m. and run virtually continuously through most of the day. They range from observations of Buddhist traditions, to a diverse lineup of musical entertainment, including performances by both local and international artists, representing the likes of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar and Sri Lanka, areas where Saṅkrānta is celebrated annually.
Attendees can also look forward to traditional dances, diverse and delicious food options as well as merchandise vendors. For families, there will be activities specifically designed for kids as well as an inflatable playground.
For both kids and adults alike, there will also be a variety of new year traditional games such as Leng Chhoung, Bos Angkunh and Teanh Prot. And after all that, this being a New Year celebration, there will be a great party to welcome the new year from 5-10 p.m.
“It’s a New Year’s celebration, so we’re going to celebrate,” - Councilwoman Suely Saro
Saro, the first Cambodian American elected to office in Long Beach, said it was important to her and those she partnered with to organize an event that would display the exceptional diversity and inclusivity of the community.
To that end, the celebration will also include African American & Latino programs and performers, highlighting the cultural contributions of these communities to Saṅkrānta.
“This is a very inclusive Saṅkrānta, New Year’s celebration, bringing together Thai, Laotian, Myanmar, it’s not focused on one ethnicity, but on the many cultures that make up our community,” Saro said. “It’s hard sometimes to talk about racial harmony, sometimes it's better to bring people together in a safe way to see the cultures, to eat something delicious, sing and dance and have fun. Sometimes this is the best way not only to learn but to break down walls.”