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Chinese Lunar New Year

While most everyone’s eyes are turned to the Super Bowl this Sunday, the 682,265 Chinese in New York will be celebrating the Lunar New Year. They will welcome in the year of the Horse.


In Chinese astrology, the Horse year is considered a good positive year bringing luck to all.  A Chinese tradition to ensure financial luck, is eating dumplings. Dumpling looks like a “sycee,” a gold ingot used by the Chinese as currently until the 19th century. The more dumplings you eat, the more “golden sycee” you have in your belly and the more gold and fortune you will have in the New Year. If you want to go where Chinatown residents go to get the most delicious dumplings, make your way to Pell street and eat at Joe’s Shanghai.  Be prepared to wait quite a long time and to sit at a communal table. While not the most intimate of settings, it is one of the most delicious. If you’re more of an uptown person, try the East Dumpling House on 106th street.

Sweets are also important to eat to start the new year off sweetly.  Make your way to Aji Ichiban for dried candies and fruits.  New Kam Man will also have traditional Asian sweets.

The 15th Annual Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade and Festival will fill the streets of Chinatown welcoming in the year of the Horse. Floats, musicians, magicians, acrobats, and dragon dances will bring Chinese culture vibrantly alive. The lunar festivities begin at 11:30 a.m., with the parade beginning 1 p.m. Festivities are expected to conclude around 2 p.m. If you’re still eager to celebrate after the parade, a cultural festival will follow at Sara D. Roosevelt Park. To learn more, you can visit the official Chinatown website.

Since we are presently living in a polar vortex, you might not want to be outside. In this case, visit MOCA.  They will be celebrating the Lunar New Year with a Family Festival.  the Museum of Chinese in America, is also just an extremely fascinating museum that focusing on the struggles of triumphs of Chinese immigrants in the United States.

When you go to these celebrations, be sure to wear red. It symbolizes a bright and happy future. It is also a color that Nian is afraid of. Nian is a mythical creature who, legend has it, would come to villages on the first day of the New Year to eat children and livestock. Because Nian was afraid of the color red, people would hand red laterns outside and set off firecrackers. It is illegal for people to set off firecrackers in NYC, so you won’t see any of that, but the dragon dance in the parade is pretty darn impressive.

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