Lunar New Year, or Chinese New Year, is the most important festival in Chinese culture. It is celebrated on the new moon of the first month according to the lunar calendar, and is a time for family reunions and scrumptious feasts. Although it is always in January or February, the Chinese New Year does not fall on the same date each year. This year Chinese New Year is on February 14, 2010. It is the year of the Tiger. If you’re curious about the various animals and the years they represent the 12 animals of the Chinese calendar are explained well here.
Chinese New Year traditionally lasts from the first day to the 15th day of the New Year (which is Lantern Festival).The Chinese New Year is a chance to leave the problems of the previous year behind. It is important to start the New Year fresh, and this means cleaning up the house and buying new clothes.
Houses are decorated with red paper banners which have auspicious couplets written on them. These are hung around doorways and are intended to bring luck to the household for the coming year.
Red is an important color in Chinese culture, symbolizing prosperity. Many people will wear red clothing during the New Year celebrations, and houses will have many red decorations such as Chinese knot work.
Red envelopes (hóng bāo) are given to children and unmarried adults. Married couples also give red envelopes to their parents.
The envelopes contain money. The money must be in new bills, and the total amount must be an even number. Certain numbers (such as four) are bad luck, so the total amount should not be one of these unlucky numbers. “Four” is a homonym for “death”, so a red envelope should never contain $4, $40, or $400.
Evil spirits are driven away by loud noise, so Chinese New Year is a very loud celebration. Long strings of firecrackers are set off throughout the holiday, and there are many displays of fireworks lighting up the evening skies.
Chinatown Lunar New Year Festival 2010
The 11th Annual Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade & Festival winds throughout Chinatown along Mott, Canal, and Bayard streets, and along East Broadway. The spectacle features elaborate floats, marching bands, lion and dragon dances galore, Asian musicians, magicians, acrobats and procession by local organizations. Over 5,000 people are expected to march in the parade, which will start at Mott Street and promenade through practically every street in of Chinatown, finally dispersing at Worth Street. The parade is expected to conclude at 3 pm, at which time an outdoor cultural festival will take place on Bayard Street featuring more performances by musicians, dancers and martial artists.
11th Annual Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade & Festival
Time: 11:30 a.m. – 4 pm, Sunday, February 21, 2010
Place: Canal Street South