It’s time for Lunar New Year!
From the West Coast to the East, the Chinese community all across the US is ringing in the Lunar New Year with firecrackers, food, family, and of course, plenty of lucky red envelopes to go around.
This year is the Year of the Horse, which symbolizes good health, prosperity, and ambition, with families hoping for a 2014 full of fortune and luck in the workplace.
In New York City, the top of the Empire State Building has been lit up since Thursday night with lights of red and gold to celebrate the New Year. The Consul General of China in New York, Sun Guoxiang, was present at a lighting ceremony on Wednesday at the building, where he remarked that the Day of Spring Festival window display at the entrance of the building made him feel “as if we were back in Beijing, celebrating our traditional Spring Festival among family and friends”.
Peter Koo, New York City Council member from Queens, told China Daily that he celebrated by having a family reunion dinner on Lunar New Year’s eve with his wife and daughter.
“My wife cooked foods considered to bring luck and good fortune, and we had fish,” he said, referring to how Chinese people traditionally enjoy seafood during the New Year because the Chinese word for fish — yu — sounds like the word for “surplus”.
“We’ll also be visiting my side of the family and my wife’s side of the family during the weekend and having dinner with them too, and we’ll hand out red envelopes to the kids,” Koo said.
Also over the weekend in Houston, over 600 fans of the Jeremy Lin Fan Club will celebrate the New Year by catching the basketball star in a Houston Rockets game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday.
Alice Chen, board member of the Foundation Committee of Houston Community College and the Asian community liaison to Congressman Al Green, said that in addition to decorating her home with Chinese poetic couplets — often phrases that wish for good health and prosperity in the New Year — she will be donning traditional Chinese dress and visiting various Lunar New Year celebrations on behalf of the congressman.
On the West Coast, director of analytics insight at technology company MarketShare, Athena Dai spent her Lunar New Year’s eve with plenty of home cooking and a traditional viewing of the annual New Year’s Gala, a four-hour long program produced by CCTV every year that has a viewership of more than 700 million.
“A spring festival without dumplings, hometown-style dishes and watching the [CCTV program] is incomplete,” Dai said.
Visiting family during the New Year — bainian in Chinese — is hard for some Chinese families, since many have relatives who are spread out across the country or are back home in China.
“After almost 30 years in the US, I still miss the Chinese New Year tradition of bainian: visiting friends, coworkers, teachers and those important in our lives,” said Mark Wen, president of the Washington State China Chamber of Commerce.
But since this year’s Lunar New Year weekend coincides with the Super Bowl XLVIII, Wen said he and his family will be going to a hybrid dumpling-Super Bowl party instead — “a perfect combination of American and Chinese cultural celebrations!” Linda Deng in Seattle, Chang Jun in San Francisco, and May Zhou in Houston contributed to this story.
On behalf of the Government of Ontario, Premier Kathleen Wynne extends warm greetings to all Ontarians marking the Chinese New Year on Friday at Queen’s Park in Toronto. She said that the celebrations of the Chinese New Year across the province reflect the diverse society in which we live, and she wishes to acknowledge the significant contributions of Chinese Canadians to the social, cultural and economic life of Ontario.