Gung Hay Fat Choy! Happy Chinese New Year!

The rain did not deter participants at the annual Lunar Parade in Flushing, Queens on Saturday, January 25.

Photos by Amanda Moses

The Chinese New Year begins on January 25th with festivities being celebrated until February 4th. (It is the biggest holiday in Chinese culture.)

Chinese New Year, also known as Spring Festival or the Lunar New Year, begins on the first calendar month during the new moon (which is why the dates shift every year). It is celebrated for 15 days, ending on the first full moon, which cleaning custom in which the house is thoroughly cleansed in order to sweep away any ill-fortune and to make way for incoming good luck. Windows and doors are decorated with red paper cut outs and couplets with popular themes of “good fortune” or “happiness”, “wealth”, and “longevity”. Other activities include lighting firecrackers and giving money in red paper envelopes.

What is this year’s Chinese Zodiac Sign?

In Chinese astrology, every year is represented by an animal. The cycle is twelve years, with a different animal for each year. In 2020, we are entering the year of the rat!According to Chinese culture, the rat is associated with the earth and midnight hours. In Chinese philosophy the concept of yin and yang refers to dualism and the relationship between opposite forces. The rat represents the yang and also symbolizes the beginning of a new day. Rats are also seen as a sign of wealth and surplus.

Zodiac Rat Years: 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020.

Lucky things for the Rat Zodiac sign:
Colors: blue, gold, green Numbers: 2, 3
Flowers: Lily, African Violet, Valley Lily
Directions of auspiciousness: Southeast, Northeast
Directions of wealth: Southeast, East
Directions of love: West

Unlucky things: Colors: yellow, brown Numbers: 5, 9

The Chinese New Year is celebrated with lion dances, dragon dances, fireworks, family gatherings, family meals, visiting friends and relatives, and giving out red envelopes.

Where can I celebrate in New York?

Multiple groups in New York City cooperate to sponsor a week-long Lunar New Year celebration. The festivities include cultural festivals, music concerts, fireworks on the Hudson River near the Chinese Consulate, and special exhibits. There is also the annual Lunar Parade in Flushing, Queens that invites thousands of spectators every year.

UPDATED: Here are few images from our coverage from Flushing’s Lunar parade on Saturday, January 25th:

*Chinese New Year facts are courtesy of Wikipedia.

Photo by Amanda Moses