New holiday banners have gone up around downtown San Luis Obispo, part of a city beautification effort to highlight diversity in the community and raise cultural awareness.
The banners, hung on lamp posts, depict a variety of December celebrations like Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.
Molly Cano is San Luis Obispo’s tourism manager.
“We also have a celebration of Noche Buena, which is the Christmas Eve celebration that really brings families together from our Latin American cultures,” Cano said.
Other banners depict Japanese and Chinese New Year celebrations. There’s also a banner with the Arabic phase 'As-salamu alaykum' meaning 'Peace be upon you.' Cano says the promotional coordination committee behind the banners reached out to different communities in the city to find out what was important to them.
“The committee realized not all of the celebrations or the depictions may something everyone in our community understands and or is aware of,’ Cano said. “In addition to putting up this beautiful artwork, one of the pieces they wanted to make sure was available was some educational and informational descriptions to accompany the banners.”
Missing from the seasonal banners: Christmas. Cano said the city wants to highlight the many ways people around the world celebrate holidays, and that the banners are meant to complement traditional Christmas decorations already on display around the city, as well as downtown Christmas-related features like Santa's House in Mission Plaza.
The banners will stay up until mid-February when they will be replaced with depictions of San Luis Obispo culture and locales like the Seven Sisters Peaks, the Fremont Theatre and LGBTQ Pride in the Square.