The Year of the Rat came alive in Mendocino last Thursday. Despite the gloomy overcast, local school children carrying signs, banners and rattles coursed down Main Street as the culmination of class lessons about Chinese culture.
A dragon led the procession, weaving its way toward the ocean. Right behind, the little ones led off the march in a formation complete with a colorful dragon head.
Passersby and visitors couldn’t help but smile. Older students followed behind. Parents walked among the children, herding them in the right direction. Teachers resolved last minute worries. No wanderers, these cheerful walkers. A destination was in mind.
Honoring the history of Chinese immigrants in Mendocino, the students headed off Main Street and west toward Albion Street. On the right side of Albion Street, sits a small red and green building that had been restored and re-dedicated in 2001.
Thursday, Kwan Tai Temple waited for its scores of young visitors. The Taoist temple, a symbol of integrity and loyalty, has survived to teach the coast’s children the value of diversity in a multi-cultural world.