IN PICTURES: It was the Year of the Pig in El Dorado Park

The Year of the Pig came to El Dorado Park Saturday.

This marked the 27th year the Cambodian New Year celebration has been at the Long Beach park, said Monorom Neth, president of the Cambodian Coordinating Council.

“We’ll probably get more than 5,000 people here today,” Neth said.  “It’s the biggest Cambodian festival in the country.”

Dancers from the Khmer Arts Academy perform. Photo by Bill Alkofer.

That’s not surprising because Long Beach has more people of Cambodian descent than anywhere in the world outside of Cambodia.

Many of the visitors were wearing shirts emblazoned with an elegant pig.

“She’s a flying golden pig who can dance a conga line and do the limbo,” said Neth (tongue firmly in cheek.)

In Cambodian culture the animal of the year is usually female.

Dancers from Lakhoan Khaol wait patiently backstage while several elected officials read proclamations. Photo by Bill Alkofer.

“We’re not sure when, but we expect her to fly in here for an appearance at some point,” Neth said. “But to tell you the truth, I’ve been so busy, she might have already been here.”

Neth counted 63 food, information and merchandise vendors at the event. And more than two dozen performers.

Does the flying pig have a name?

“That is one thing that I’m not sure of,” Neth said. “We should probably have one of the guests give her one.”

The 2019 Cambodian New Year celebration commemorated the Year of the Pig. Photo by Bill Alkofer.

Ella Suos, 10, was one of the performers from Khmer Arts Academy.

The group performed several Cambodian dances. Her suggestion for a name was “Miss Piggelis.”

DJ Phat was running the soundboard at the performance stage. “I like Oinky Maiden,” he said.

Kuntha Kith was watching his children play with bubbles: “I think I’ve already seen her around here. Her name is Peacenik Piglet.”

Tristan McCoy plays with bubbles. Photo by Bill Alkofer.

Abraham Miranda decided to name her after himself: “I think Miranda would be a great name. I’m scared of pigs, though. If I see her coming, I’m running as fast as I can and hiding in the restroom.”

Vietnam War veteran Pham Thammavongsa holds a flag during an honor guard ceremony. Photo by Bill Alkofer.

Girls from the Khmer Arts Academy watch a member of their troupe practice before they went on stage. Photo by Bill Alkofer.

Dancers from Khmer Arts Academy perform. Photo by Bill Alkofer.

Sopoun Chan, 68, a veteran of the Vietnam War, salutes during an honor guard ceremony at the Cambodian New Year celebration. Photo by Bill Alkofer.

Soriya Sam from the Khmer Arts Academy has plenty of help putting on her headpiece before going on stage. Photo by Bill Alkofer.

Imam Ghazaly Salim has a blessed bracelet tied on his wrist by a Buddhist monk. Photo by Bill Alkofer.

Sydnee Thy of the Khmer Arts Academy records the dancing of her troupe mates. Photo by Bill Alkofer.

Long Beach has the largest number of Cambodians of any city outside of Cambodia. Many booths sold clothing merchandise during the Cambodian New Year celebration. Photo by Bill Alkofer.

Attendees at this year’s Cambodian New Year celebration were encouraged to wear sarongs. Traditional footwear was optional. Photo by Bill Alkofer.

The Lakhaon Khaol dancers perform. Photo by Bill Alkofer.

Sale Ouk honors Buddist monk Lukta Such by serving him a meal. Photo by Bill Alkofer.

Nut Vorn relaxes in a tent. Photo by Bill Alkofer.

 

 

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