Did you know that Chinese New Year is the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese calendar? This year is Year of the Dragon.
On Monday, January 23, I met with friend and artist Day Le to kick of the Lunar New Year right here in NYC's Chinatown.
First, Day took me to a Buddhist temple in Chinatown. While standing in line to get in, a gentleman handed us each a stick of incense to hold, and another man collected the incense before we entered the building. We stood in another line to approach a large and beautiful statue of Buddha. A monk handed us each a red envelope filled with $1 and a necklace (this is part of the celebration) and an orange. We were ushered down to the basement and handed each a box of rice and steamed vegetables. Then sat on the stools lining the two adjoining rooms to eat.
Once back out on the street, I decided to look for more New Year activity. For two hours, I followed the dragon dancers and drummers as they danced from store to store. At each place, they were fed the money-filled red envelopes.
The streets were packed with people of all ages. One of my favorite things was when folks set off poppers - tubes filled with big pieces of confetti and glitter as well as tiny parachutes which fly up in the air and land in the hands of excited children.
All the stores and restaurants were filled with dragon-themed decorations.
There was such a sense of wonder, awe, and happiness in the crowds. It was truly a blessing to be part of a celebration that is thousands of years old.
LUNAR NEW YEAR RESOURCES
For Basic Facts about Lunar New Year: Click HERE
For more extensive information: Click HERE
For more New Year activities in Chinatown: Click HERE
For activities throughout NYC: Click HERE
For my post about Kam Mak, the man behind the Lunar New Year USPS stamp: Click HERE
To view the current Year of the Dragon stamp: Click HERE