By Gina Martinez
The Flushing community is preparing to kick off the Year of the Dog with Lunar New Year celebrations.
Weeks of small celebrations throughout Queens are leading up to the borough’s biggest event to commemorate the new year, Flushing’s Lunar New Year Parade on Saturday.
The Lunar New Year is an important holiday across Southeast and Eastern Asia, where it is celebrated by the Chinese, Taiwanese, Vietnamese, Japanese, Koreans and Malaysians. It is meant to mark the start of a new work year with wishes for profits and success.
Festivities include fireworks and firecrackers to see off the old year and welcome in the new, as well as the exchange of red envelopes filled with money — also known as “lucky money” — which are given to ensure luck and safety for the rest of the year.
Flushing, which is home to one of the city’s largest Chinatown neighborhoods, hosts the borough’s biggest parade.
Lunar New Year parades are colorful and festive events, and most celebrations include traditional Chinese dances performed by men and women in costumes. Food is also a huge part of the new year, with dumplings, spring rolls, rice cakes and fish topping the list of offerings.
Flushing’s Lunar New Year Parade will include floats, dancing and traditional Chinese celebrations. This year’s festivities will start with a warm-up reception of coffee and doughnuts hosted by Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce at St. George’s Episcopal Church, located at 135-32 38th Ave., from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. The Chamber’s reception will feature performances by local groups, including a martial arts demonstration by Korea Taekwondo and K-Pop dance and participatory K-Pop Zumba by EPIC 88, as well as a raffle and prize giveaway by Kumon.
The parade will then kick off at 11a.m. at Union Street and 37th Ave.
Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing) said the Lunar New Year is a time for families to come together, often from across the world, to celebrate and spend time with one another.
“We embrace our good fortunes and look forward to the coming year with a renewed energy and optimism,” he said. “I’d like to invite everyone to come out to the Lunar New Year parade in Flushing this Saturday and enjoy the spirit and culture of our community.”
State Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing) said she looks forward to the annual parade now that the Lunar New Year has been declared a day off from school for kids.
“Lunar New Year is a special time for families to come together to reflect on the blessings of the past and look forward to a fruitful new year,” she said. “The parade is a grand annual tradition that I look forward to participating in each year. For too long, families were forced to decide between allowing their children to miss a day of school or to miss out on festivities. Now, everyone can enjoy these long-standing traditions together without sacrifice.”
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart