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Chinese New Year, the Spring Festival or Lunar New Year is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. It consists of a period of celebrations, starting on New Year’s Day, celebrated on the fi rst day of the first month of the Chinese calendar.

This year, the year of the Rooster, Chinese Lunar New Year falls on January 28th, 2017.

Legend Says

The origin of the Lunar New Year Festival can be traced back thousands of years, involving a series of colorful legends and traditions. One of the most famous legends is that of Nian – an extremely cruel and ferocious beast that the ancients believed would devour people on New Year’s Eve. To keep Nian away, red-paper tags are pasted on doors, torches are lit, and firecrackers are set off throughout the night, because Nian is said to fear the color red, the light of fi re, and loud noises. Early the next morning, as feelings of triumph and renewal fill the air at successfully keeping Nian away for another year, the most popular greeting heard is “gong xi” or “congratulations.”

The Celebration

On Lunar New Year’s Eve, family members return home for a delightful reunion and share in a lavish meal. At that time, family members hand out hong bao, or “lucky money” in red envelopes, to elders and children. In addition, some families even hold religious ceremonies after midnight to welcome the God of the New Year into their homes, a ritual that is often concluded with a huge barrage of firecrackers.

One of the most spectacular sights during the Lunar New Year Festival is the dragon and lion dance. The heads of these fearsome beasts are supposed to ward off evil, and the lively movements of the dancers provide a grand spectacle enjoyable to everyone.

As in all such festivals, food plays an important role throughout the Lunar New Year Festival, and dinners tend to be especially lavish. Many of the dishes made at this time are served because they are regarded as symbols of good luck. For instance, fi sh (yu) represent “having enough to spare,” garlic chives (jiou cai) stand for “everlasting,” turnips (cai tou) mean “good omens,” and fi sh balls (yu wan) and meat balls (rou wan) represent “reunion.”

Celebrate in New York City

New York City is expecting a grande Chinese New Year celebration this year, beginning with the annual Lunar New Year Firecracker Ceremonies on January 28 and February 5, 2017.

Saturday, January 28, 2017:
New Year’s Day Firecracker Ceremony & Cultural Festival
11am – 330pm. Firecracker kick-off at 12pm.
Location: Sara D. Roosevelt Park. Grand Street and Chrystie St.

Sunday, February 5, 2017:
18th Annual New York City Lunar New Year Parade & Festival
12pm – 430pm. Parade kick-off at 1pm.

Suggested viewing locations: East Broadway or by Grand Street / Sara Roosevelt Park.

The firecracker detonation, with expected attendance by local politicians and community leaders, is intended to ward off evil spirits. From 12 pm to 4:30 pm, massive stages will feature all-day cultural performances by traditional and contemporary Asian-American singers
and dancers. Plus, a dozen lion, dragon and unicorn dance troupes will march through Chinatown’s main streets, including Mott Street, the Bowery, East Broadway, Bayard Street, Elizabeth Street and Pell Street.

Lunar New Year Fesivitiest in Los Angeles

Los Angeles anticipates their share of festive celebrations. One of the most popular this year, presented by the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Los Angeles is the 2007 Golden Dragon Parade. With over 110,000 individuals lining the parade route and thousands viewing the telecast each year, this colorful celebration along North Broadway in Chinatown has become
the premiere cultural event in the Southern California Asian-American Community.

Since the mid-1980’s, the Golden Dragon Parade has expanded to include almost two dozen fl oats, multiple marching bands, government officials, various dignitaries, entertainers, local business leaders and cultural groups. The parade’s theme emphasizes ethnic diversity, Chinese Culture and exposure to Chinese-American businesses. The parade continues to be a rich and diverse experience for Angelenos of all ages and ethnicities.

Saturday, February 4, 2017:
Los Angeles 118th Golden Dragon Parade & Chinese New Year Festival
Start at 12 pm

Celebrate in Orlando City

The Year of the Rooster marks the 6th annual Central Florida Dragon Parade Lunar New Year Festival held in Orlando, Florida. This event has received overwhelming response from local and far away communities alike.   Again this year, Asia Trend Magazine is partnering with Mills 50 (an Orlando Main Street District), R.E.A.C.H. (Recognizing Educating Asian Cultural Heritage) and Y.E.S.S. (Youth Enrichment and Senior Services) to host the Dragon Parade Lunar New Year Festival on Saturday, February 11 from 11:00am to 5:00pm at Orlando Fashion Square Mall, 3201 E. Colonial Drive.

The festival parade starts at the Anthem College Parking lot and will end at Orlando Fashion Square Mall’s front entrance (between Dillard’s & Macy’s). The Dragon Parade, which precedes the Festival, is led by Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, City Commissioners Robert Stuart and Patty Sheehan and other City and County officials and features performers and representatives of numerous Asian organizations. The parade will be followed by five hours of Spring Festivity that will take place on the lobby stage inside of the mall.  The Lunar New Year Festival will feature Asian entertainment including Dragon dancing, Lion Dancing, cultural dances, martial arts, taiko drummers, arts and crafts and Asian food.  In 2016, over 8500 patrons attended the event.

Asia Trend Magazine together with Mills 50 – Orlando Mainstreet District, REACH of Central Florida (Recognizing Educating Asian Cultural Heritage) and Y.E.S.S. (Youth Enrichment and Senior Services) joined hands to organize the Central Florida local community Dragon Parade Lunar New Year Festival on February 14th, 2016 to celebrate the Year of the Monkey. The festival starts at 11am with a community parade (begins at Orlando Fashion Square Parking lot and ends at Orlando Fashion Square front entrance) followed by a 5-hour festival which takes place at Orlando Fashion Square lobby stage. Come experience the Asian culture with cultural performances, exotic Asian food, Arts and Crafts and exhibitions. Admission is free.

Saturday, February 11, 2017:
6th Annual Dragon Parade Lunar Chinese New Year Festival
Parade start at 11 am to 12 pm, Stage performance 12 pm to 5 pm

Orlando Chinatown