This year, the Lunar New Year celebrates the year of the sheep. (If your birthday year is a multiple of 12, then your Chinese zodiac is the sheep.) The Lunar New Year is celebrated widely throughout Asia and in predominantly large Asian communities all over the world.
The Lunar New Year celebrates the beginning of spring. As legend has it, the Lunar New Year celebration began out of fear of a monster called Nien (Chinese word for year). It is said that Nien was terrorizing a small community by eating their crops, cattle, and even children. To fight this monster off, the Chinese began decorating their windows and doors in red and gold colors and lighting up fires in front of their homes. This tradition still stands today; people adorn their homes in red, and everyone wears red to celebrate the beginning of the lunar calendar year and the passing of Nien.
The date of the Lunar New Year changes every year because it is based on the lunar calendar. Lunar New Year always falls on the second new moon of the winter solstice. The holiday is usually a week long celebration but in some places, it is celebrated for up to 15 days.
In New York City, the celebration is big, from Flushing, Queens to Chinatown in Lower Manhattan. The day of the Lunar New Year (Feb. 19, 2015), the celebration starts in Flushing with the Firecracker Celebration at the Sarah D. Roosevelt Park. On Sunday (Feb. 22), NYLC has planned an activity to take students to the Lunar New Year parade. All NYLC students are welcome! Come join us for a celebration of food and culture, and bring your family or friends!
written by Dafny Guzman