Gun Hay Fat Choy! That’s how you say “Happy New Year” in Chinese. According to Chinese astrology, each year (starting from Chinese New Year) is associated with an animal sign, occurring in a 12-year cycle. 2015 (4713) is the Year of Sheep (in some countries it is considered as Year of the Goat). The new year marks the beginning of the spring, the rebirth of the Earth. The Chinese words for New Year means “spring festival".
Chinese New Year starts with the New Moon on the first day of the new year and ends on the full moon 15 days later. Every day has it's own meaning. The first day is “the welcoming of the gods of the heavens and earth”. On the second day, the Chinese pray to their ancestors as well as to all the gods. The third and fourth days are for the sons-in-laws to pay respect to their parents-in-law.
The entire house should be cleaned before New Year. On New Year’s Eve, all brooms, brushes, dusters, dust pans and other cleaning equipment are put away. Sweeping or dusting should not be done on New Year for fear that good fortune be swept away.
New York has one of the oldest Lunar New Year celebrations in the U.S. It has survived a six-year ban on fireworks from 1997-2003—which is basically a six-year ban on banishing evil spirits.
Last year Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law that will allow New York City schools to have the option of closing in observance of Lunar New Year. Whether or not the school will close is left up to the discretion of each individual school.
This year the 16th Annual Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade in New York took place on Sunday, February 22. More than 6,000 people marched in parade, that started at Mott street. Approximately half a million spectators lined the streets of Chinatown. It was really crowded. I arrived a little bit later than I planned but was able to find an excellent spot near the very end of parade so I made several pictures for my blog.