Record numbers flocked to Berkeley’s Nan Tien Temple yesterday to ring in the Chinese New Year.
The temple’s car park, along with nearby streets and grassy knolls, were full by 10am yesterday as nearly 25,000 people gathered to celebrate the Year of Snake in the temple’s sun-drenched gardens.
The lion dance and wishing tree proved a hit with patrons while thousands of people lit incense and candles to make offerings to Buddha.
The temple’s Venerable Miao You said the Year of the Snake was set to be full of surprises.
‘‘The snake never just goes straight so you never quite know what to expect,’’ she said.
‘‘The greeting from the temple this year is focused on unwavering advancement despite life’s twists and turns ... it’s a good motto to live by.’’
Chinese New Year’s Eve at the temple was marked with a vegetarian food fair, hour-long chanting service and incense offering before the peace bell sounded at midnight to officially bring in the new year.
The temple will continue to celebrate the new year until February 24 with a calligraphy and tea pot exhibition and weekend prayers and offerings.