The year of the Dragon was celebrated at Mission Gardens Lunar New Year event on Saturday, February 3.

The celebration took place in the Chinese Garden which has very specific vegetables planted and growing.

The Chinese farmers are the ones who actually started bringing in the vegetables and growing more of the western vegetables in Tucson that were not available to the Tucson people, explained Mission Garden volunteer, Nancy Tom.

She and Board Member Fe Tom explained that the history of the items planted dates back to the 19th century.

We got the seeds from those families who have been here for so many years, Nancy Tom said. Theyre unadulterated seeds, theyre seeds that are used to being in the hot desert and thats what weve planted here at Mission Garden.

Fe Tom explained that part of the reason they do it is to help educate younger generations.

Fe Tom said, We just want to bring back these vegetables so that even the Chinese kids can go and look at what a bitter melon looks like, what the leaf looks like and how it tastes.

Many were able to have that experience at the the celebration that was held in partnership with Tucson Chinese Cultural Center.

We have decorated with Chinese symbols, lanterns, dragons and things that are red because it brings good luck, said Nancy Tom.

The event also had a yo-yo demonstration, calligraphy table, gift shop and giveaway of citrus fruits.

Chinese New Year is a very important date, Fe Tom said. Its an opportunity for families to come back together and to celebrate this event. If you go to China this is probably the biggest event.