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Bomb Day: More than luck, it's about tradition
Five-year-old Janis Durst covered her ears in downtown Marysville on Sunday as small "bomb" blasts echoed off buildings and sent colorful wire rings into the air.
The Marysville child sat in her uncle's arms as she watched more than a dozen ethnic Chinese men dressed in black shirts fight for the soft rings as they floated back to earth on Bomb Day.
"This has been a family tradition," said Janis' uncle, Bill Ajuria.
Bomb Day, the second and final day of the 133rd annual Bok Kai Festival, drew a crowd that totaled in the hundreds as firecrackers thundered down First Street. The Chinese celebration has become a popular event for many Yuba-Sutter residents, who look on as Chinese descendants participate in tradition and pay tribute to the Daoist water god, Bok Eye.
Thousands of people flood into Marysville each year to participate in Bok Kai festivities. However, none of the traditions are quite as loud as Bomb Day, a time when males of Chinese ancestry scramble through snapping firecrackers to catch rings for good fortune.
Gary Chen, 17, was lucky enough to catch his first ring on Sunday after coming up empty-handed the last three years.
"It's an accomplishment," the San Francisco resident humbly said.
Chen said he drives up to Marysville every year with his friends to visit the Bok Kai Temple and celebrate his beliefs.
But there is another important reason for holding the event, said John Young, president of Hop Sing Chinese community group.
Young, who made the bombs for the Marysville celebration from 1972 to 1987, said that whether the participants catch a ring or not, it's all about teaching youths to honor traditions.
"It's important for younger generations to keep the tradition going," he said.
Young's 29-year-old daughter, Candice, attended Sunday's event with her family. She said she agrees with her father. And although her kids are 2 years old and 2 months old, she wants them to start appreciating their heritage at a young age.
"It (heritage) makes us who we are as individuals," she said.
CONTACT Griffin Rogers at email@example.com or 749-4783. Find him on Facebook at /ADgriffinrogers or on Twitter at @ADgriffinrogers.