BY MORGAN CHITTUM
Tuesday, Feb. 5, marks the beginning of the the Lunar New Year and Year of the Pig, which means Queens will be exploding with lively events celebrating this ancient Asian tradition.
Lunar New Year signifies the start of the Chinese calendar year. Each year is defined by a specific animal. These 12 zodiac signs include rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.
Although the timeline is up for debate, the Lunar New Year has been observed since roughly the Shang Dynasty in 1766 B.C. The origins are not fully known, however, old tales say the beginning of the tradition sprung from a fight facing a beast called “Year.” “Year” wreaked havoc, causing destruction to property and people. His victims found that he feared fire, loud sounds and the color red, thus launching a series of traditions such as lighting fireworks and large, red-colored parades.
And the order of the signs? Legend has it the order of the calendar is based off of who arrived to the Jade Emperor’s party first. The pig, being the 12th animal on the calendar, got there last.
The Year of the Pig predicts good luck for those born on its 12-year cycle: 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007 and 2019. Individuals who are born on the Year of the Pig are assumed to be charismatic, energetic and up for any task regardless of its excitement.
This year the borough has several events to offer residents of all ages for Lunar New Year.
On Feb. 9, Flushing is having its free annual Lunar New Year parade, which has historically brought out large bustling crowds. The event features brightly colored floats, steel drummers, firecrackers and dragon dancers. Starting at 9:30 a.m., the day will begin with coffee and donuts as a warm-up reception for attendees at the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce. The parade will commence at 11 a.m. on Union Street and 37th Avenue in Flushing.
That same day, Queens Botanical Garden in Flushing will hold Lunar New Year-themed workshops, crafts and performances. They will be selling lucky plants all week in honor of the holiday. Queens Botanical Garden is located at 43-50 Main St. in Flushing; visit queensbotanical.org for details.
Finally, Flushing Town Hall will host a Chinese New Year Temple Bazaar on Feb. 17. The Bazaar will offer lantern making, art-making and will provide food to celebrate the occasion. The event will have two sessions for guests, one at 11 a.m. and the other at 2 p.m. Attendees will also have the opportunity to contribute to the Red Envelope Show.
Flushing Town Hall is located at 137-35 Northern Blvd. For more details, visit flushingtownhall.org.