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BY BENJAMIN MANDILE

Queens Center Mall will kick of the Lunar New Year in style on Saturday.

The mall — located at 90-15 Queens Blvd. in Elmhurst — will host a series of events from noon until 3 p.m., including Asian cultural performances, the Lions Dance and a learning area for children, among other festivities.

Additionally, guests can flaunt their artistic skills by making Red Envelope Lanterns and placemats for the Year of the Rat. 

The Lunar New Year, the start of the lunar calendar in Chinese tradition, kicks off its two-week celebration Saturday when people of all cultures and ages make their way to events around the city to celebrate the Year of the Rat. 

The rat has been respected in China for more than 2,000 years as it had the power to make or break an agricultural society, said Jeremy Willinger, director of marketing for the China Institute.

Queens Center Mall also plans on gifting the first 200 attendees with a red envelope. 

Hong Bao, a traditional red envelope, is given in Chinese culture as a gift to denote good luck for the year, said Willinger. The color red  represents prosperity and success, he added. 

Willinger said it’s “wonderful” to see Chinese New Year become an ambassador for Chinese culture as its traditions and festivities spread. 

The Chinese New Year which will run from Jan. 25 through Feb. 10 this year marks the start of the lunar calendar. 

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