New group debuts at Chinese New parade with historical costumes


The Chinese New Year Parade in San Francisco is just days away.  The beauty of this historic event is the many groups that have dazzled the audience for decades.  And each year, there are also new faces and new performances. 

One group is set to make its debut at this year's parade gave KTVU a sneak preview of its performance for the parade.   

With the backdrop of Lake Elizabeth in Fremont, the Northern California Hanfu Association held a dress rehearsal.

"It's almost like a small community we're in. It's nice to have this cultural exchange," said Nina Zhao, a CPA in Santa Clara, and is one of 1,000 members, most of whom live in the Bay Area

But some are from as far north as Sacramento and down south to Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties.

"We live in a very diverse part of California, so I think it's very important to celebrate our culture," said Zhao.  

The name of the group, "Hanfu," means clothing from the Han Dynasty in Chinese history.

"Kind of forgotten, but we still  want to bring it back to show people how pretty it is," said Shuai Shao, a member from San Jose who works in tech as a data scientist.  
He emigrated from Shanghai to the United States  twelve years ago.

Most members were immigrants from China.

Group members said Chinese music, dance and clothing are ways to demonstrate pride in their culture and their desire to share it with others. 

"This kind of activity kind of makes me feel close to home," said Shao.  

"There's a little blouse inside and there's a little blouse outside," Zhao said. "It makes me feel confident. A lot of times before this, I was introverted."

The group was co-founded by Jieyu Yan of Fremont. 

She said her love for the historical clothing turned a hobby into a calling.

Yan said she and group members are excited about participating in the parade for the first time,  

"We want more American people to know Chinese Americans have a cool history, are beautiful and smart."  

During the group's performance at the parade, Yan plans to portray a fairy holding a dragon to celebrate the Year of the Dragon. 

She hopes to educate and promote appreciation for the Chinese culture.

"Our next generation are born and raised here. We are part of this great country," said Yan. .

The Northern California Hanfu Association holds monthly public performances in various Bay Area cities. 

Yan said each performance will have a theme reflective of the Chinese American heritage.

Amber Lee is a reporter with KTVU. Email Amber at or text/leave message at 510-599-3922. Follow her on Facebook @AmberKTVU,  Instagram @AmberKTVU  or Twitter @AmberKTVU.