The internationally famous and always-well-attended Lunar New Year Parade will take place in Flushing on Saturday, Jan. 25. After a kick-off at St. George’s Church at about 9:30 p.m., dragons, red envelopes and marchers will fill Main Street and a K-Pop group will perform as bloggers and other media members bounce around, taking photos.

But in Queens, Lunar New Year is more than a one-day festival. It’s part of the borough’s January existence and it encompasses various art forms and cross-cultural activities.

Here’s some information on how celebrate the holiday with local flare in 2020.

Queens Botanical Garden, 43-50 Main St., will host its annual, family-friendly celebration on Jan. 25 from noon to 4 p.m. Youngsters will get involved with crafts and activities, while parents peruse the Lucky Plant sale. (According to legend, jades bring fortune, while bamboos bring luck and chrysanthemums bring longevity.)

Queens Museum will get into the action the following day, Jan. 26, with a lantern workshop at 1:30 p.m.

Maritza Wu, a technology engineering instructor at Queensborough Community College, will teach how to make lanterns with red envelopes. In Chinese culture, the color red is associated with energy, happiness and good luck, and revelers stuff red envelopes with money and exchange them on Lunar New Year. The tradition dates to an ancient practice of keeping children safe from the demon Sui.

The workshop will be in English, Mandarin and Spanish in Studio A. Space is limited to 20 participants, and registration is required.

Queens Museum, which is located at the NYC Building in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, will also present a sixth annual Lunar New Year Celebration for Families with the New York Chinese Cultural Center on Jan. 26. A Kung Fu demonstration, dances from various regions and ethnic groups, a mischievous lion, classic songs played by traditional Chinese instruments, and a red ribbon dance are at 1 p.m. A calligraphy workshop is at 2 p.m.

Meanwhile, Flushing Town Hall is going crazy.

The venue’s first event is an art exhibition, “A Good Beginning, Here,” that opens on Friday, Jan. 17, at 6 p.m. On display until Feb. 16, this cross-cultural show contains more than 20 pieces by eight artists who trace their roots to China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. In a wide array of styles and media, the works embody unique life stories and ideas rooted in the East and evolved in the West.

Gallery hours are Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. and weekdays by appointment.

The next day, Jan. 18, Puppetry in Practice artist and author/illustrator Angelo DeCesare will offer a puppet-making workshop and a live drawing of an adaptation of “The Cat and the Rat” at 2 p.m. As part of the celebration, PiP puppeteer and storyteller Luciano Cohen will lead a Dragon Walk.

The fun continues at Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Blvd., with the Zhou Family Band on Jan. 26 at 2 p.m. Co-presented with the World Music Institute, this group plays traditional wind and percussion music from birth and death celebrations of the people of Central-Eastern China that date back 600 years. It’s also family affair, as Zhous have played Chinese folk music called “Bolin Laba” for seven generations.

Then there’s Flushing Town Hall’s Lunar New Year Temple Bazaar on Feb. 1 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Offered in two sessions, these events feature live performances, hands-on activities and food.

It’s the Year of the Rat, and according to Chinese zodiac signs, people born during this 12-year cycle are industrious, diligent and positive. The men are gentle and good at planning. The women are frugal and wise.

Editor’s note: Those who want to participate in the Jan. 25 parade are invited to the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce’s pre-event warm-up at St. George’s Church, 135-32 38th Ave., at 9:30 a.m. There will be plenty of hot chocolate along with singing, dancing and Zumba performances. (As no surprise, organizers plan to give away 5,000 red envelopes.)

Top image: Queens Botanical Garden/Eryn Hatzithomas; Gallery images (l-to-r): Queens Museum, Queens Museum, Flushing Town Hall


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