Photo by Steve Vazquez
2017’s Lunar New Year Festival celebrates the year of the rooster.
By Gina Martinez

The Flushing community is preparing to kick off the Year of the Rooster with Lunar New Year celebrations.

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 sound out the new year and welcome in the new, red envelopes with money, also known as “lucky money,” which are given out to ensure luck and safety for the rest of the year.

The Lunar New Year begins this Saturday, but the major event in Queens will launch Feb. 4 with the Lunar New Year Parade in Flushing organized by the 2017 Lunar New Year Festival Committee, a coalition of community groups led by the Flushing Chinese Business Association and the Korean American Association of Queens. Visually the parade is colorful and festive. Most celebrations of the new year 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 most popular selections.

According to the committee, the parade festivities will begin at 11 a.m. at Union Street and 39th Avenue in front of the 109th Precinct and continue down Sanford Avenue, Main Street, 39th Avenue and end at Queens Crossing. The parade is expected to last an hour. The committee said there will be an opening ceremony featuring Lion and Dragon dances, in which performers mimic a lion’s movements in a lion costume that formally welcome the beginning of another Lunar New Year. The parade will be led by Mr. Met and the police band. There will be more than 100 organizations marching from different ethnic and cultural groups along with over 30 floats.

Indoor activities will take place from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Queens Crossing Mudan Banquet Hall on 136-17 39th Ave. The party will feature a series of traditional stage performances and a cultural bazaar.

The festivities continue on Wed, Feb 8., when the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce will be holding its first ever Lunar New Year celebration with business leaders, elected officials, and community members at Flushing Town Hall. The celebrations will begin with a lion dance by Mui Fa Lion and Unicorn Dance team. The dance is said to usher in good fortune.

“In these times of intolerance and suspicion, it’s important to remember our roots as an immigrant nation that has welcomed people from around the world,” said John Choe, executive director of the Flushing Chamber. “The Lunar New Year is as American as apple pie and we encourage all New Yorkers to come out to celebrate the amazing diversity of our community.”

As part of the Feb. 8 celebration, Flushing-based Korea Taekwondo students will perform a martial arts routine and demonstration at Flushing Town Hall; Helen You, chef and owner of Flushing restaurant Dumpling Galaxy, will do a book signing of her new cookbook, “The Dumpling Galaxy Cookbook,” as well as a live demonstration of how she makes dumplings followed by a tasting. The chamber said attendees will enjoy festive food such as a prosperity toss, roasted suckling pig, golden dumplings, longevity noodles, and more. There will be raffles and prizes.

State Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D-Fresh Meadows) sent her regards to those celebrating the new year.

“As the elected representative of an increasingly diverse district with so many families that celebrate the Lunar New Year,” she said, “I am delighted to send warm wishes for the Year of the Rooster and look forward to embracing the great cultures and traditions of this holiday that further enriches our entire community.”

Celebrations will continue throughout February. On, Thurs., Feb. 9, there will be a Lunar New Year celebration by City Comptroller Scott Stringer at Flushing Town Hall at 6:30 p.m., and on Wed., Feb. 22, City Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing) is set to host a Lunar New Year celebration at City Hall at 5:30 p.m.

Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmartinez@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.

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