While today marks the end of the first month in 2014, it also marks the beginning of celebrations for the 2014 Lunar New Year. Asian-Americans across the city and from all over the world will celebrate the Year of the Horse. The festivities, which are open to all and will run through February 14th, take place in several communities throughout the boroughs, including Chinatown, Flushing, and Sunset Park.
This morning, Chinatown held its 15th annual firecracker ceremony at Roosevelt Park. The popular firecracker display, which attracted a large crowd, featured traditional customs such as line dancing and the dragon dance, as well as cultural performances from singers and dancers. Chinatown will also host its New Year parade on Sunday at 1 p.m., as will Sunset Park. In addition, Pace University will host a special Chinese hip-hop performance at the Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts, also set for Sunday at 1 p.m. Not to be left out, Flushing will commence its celebration in the coming week beginning at 10 a.m. on February 8th.
According to Chinese tradition, the New Year celebration dates back to an old folktale in which a beast, Nian, terrorized Chinese villagers. To scare Nian away the villagers wore red, played loud noises and lit firecrackers. They even made food for the mythical beast in hopes that he’d leave them alone. It may sound like a sci-fi movie but this essentially became the Lunar New Year. Each year the Chinese calendar has a corresponding zodiac animal, and today marks the turnover from the Year of the Snake to the Year of the Horse. The zodiac symbol of the Horse represents intelligence, independence and ability. Let’s all celebrate!
Mario López (@M5Motie)