SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - Thursday marked the eve of Chinese New Year. Families and merchants made preparations to usher in the Year of the Dog.
San Francisco Chinatown was extra busy on this day.
People did last minute shopping and restaurants prepared traditional dishes for families who started the celebration by eating out.
For the Chinese, it is a celebration of food , family and fortune.
At Far East Restaurant, Chef Lau prepares the traditional vegetarian dish, along moss with dried oysters, symbols of prosperity and all things good.
90-year- ld Anna Loke celebrates by eating a meal with family and friends.
"For Chinese people, food is number one. All we think about is food," says Loke.
Roast pig is a popular dish, especially for those celebrating at home.
On the streets of Chinatown, there are pop up stands selling celebratory items.
Store fronts are decorated.
"Everything is supposed to be new and clean," says longtime Chinatown resident Laura Li as she showed KTVU how tradition is observed.
"So you can see people dressing all festive," says Li as she points to a woman dressed in red.
Wearing red is a popular custom, as is shopping for produce such as tangerines and grapefruit.
"To pass the new year and wash all the bad stuff. Get the new stuff, the good
stuff," says Li.
At AA Bakery, owner Henry Chan proudly shows off the freshly made savory and sweet treats.
On display are brown sweet cakes, turnip cakes and taro cakes made from products of a bountiful harvest.
They are shaped into a circle to represent the embrace of family.
"It's like Christmas. The family enjoy," says Chan,
"These are so cute, with little dogs. It says Happy New Year," says Tane Chan, the owner of The Wok Shop.
She shows KTVU the red envelopes that are given to children and single people. It's the year of the dog. People born under that animal in the Chinese zodiac may have certain traits.
"They are loyal. They are good friends. They're dependable," says Chan.
She and other shop owners set off firecrackers before closing for the night to ward off evil spirits.
And merchants plan to set them off again in the morning when they open to bring in the good luck .