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Uniquely New York City (NYC)


New York City (NYC)
Chinese Lunar New Year Festival

Chinese Lunar New Year
Photo Credit: Associated Press
2018 - Celebrating the Year of the Dog

The Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, is based on lunar calendar and does not fall on the same date each year. It takes place sometime between January and February, basically on the second new moon after the winter solstice. Chinese calendar has a twelve year cycle and each year is represented by its own animal.

The traditional Chinese New Year festivities take place over a two-week period. They begin with “sweeping of the grounds”. This is a special housecleaning ritual meant to sweep out the old and evil and invite the spring. After the sweeping, families bid farewell to the Kitchen God, who has to take a journey to heaven to give a report on families’ behavior throughout the year. The Kitchen God, who presides over the household, returns on New Year’s Day.

New Year’s Eve is marked with a big family get-together and a feast featuring symbolic dishes, a lot of it is seafood. A whole fish is a must on each holiday table, as it represents abundance. Other dishes frequently present on the holiday table are shrimp, which represent happiness; oysters, which represent good business; and clams, symbolizing the opening of new horizons.

Red and gold are the colors of the Chinese New Year, where red stands for happiness and gold for wealth. These colors also dominate the Parade. The flamboyant Chinese New Year’s Day Parade in NYC is the largest of its kind on the east coast. The procession cascades down the streets of NYC's renowned Chinatown, including Mott Street, the Bowery, East Broadway, Bayard Street, Elizabeth Street and Pell Street, and spilling over into virtually every side street on its way. Dozens of lion, dragon and unicorn dance troupes, magicians, acrobats, Asian musicians and local organizations light up the streets and create a magical spectacle. The festivities also feature beautifully adorned floats. The area is spangled with restaurants serving special holiday dishes with names like “good luck” and “fortune”. After the Parade, outdoors cultural festival takes place in Bayard Street with more performances by musicians, dancers and martial artists.

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