A Sampling of Lunar New Year Events

  • Lunar New Year Parade in Manhattan's Chinatown on Feb. 5, 2017. (Photos by Marco Poggio for Voices of NY)

The Year of the Rooster was marked at Lunar New York parades and celebrations over the weekend. In Manhattan’s Chinatown and Flushing in Queens, crowds thronged the parade routes. Above, view photos from both parades, taken by CUNY Graduate School of Journalism 2016 graduate Marco Poggio.

Then, join his fellow 2016 CUNY J-School grad Zach Williams for a 360˚ view, below, of a lion dance demonstration held on Feb. 3 at a senior center in Chinatown. The Chinese Freemasons Athletic Club fields the oldest lion dance group in New York City. But competition for cash-filled red envelopes has increased in recent years as dozens of groups adopt modern dances and costumes. So the Freemasons are doubling down on dance moves inspired by kung fu. Longtime mentor Karlin Chan has told the young men and women in the group that he wants them to stand on their own. But before Chan can step away he has to see how well they can step into 2017.

Finally, a post-parade event was held in the Korean community at the Kumgangsan banquet hall in Flushing.

As Soyoung Kim reports in The Korea Times (translated by Munyoung Cho):

About 600 men and women of all ages living in New York and New Jersey enjoyed diverse traditional performances and ate tteokguk [a traditional Korean dish for the celebration of the Korean New Year] together. In this official event, many politicians in New York participated. It reflected the recently risen status of the Korean community.

New York State Assemblymember Ron Kim highlighted that his roots are Korean and said: “I am proud that Asians including Koreans keep celebrating their own traditional holiday and sharing their culture with other ethnic groups in America.”

Traditional Korean drumming at a post-Lunar New Year parade event in Flushing (Photo via The Korea Times)

New York City Council member Peter Koo and New York state Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky participated and said “Happy New Year” clearly in the Korean language, which they practiced. (…) For the first time this year, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer visited the event and showed a special affection for the Korean community.

Ten youths from “Born Star NYC” opened the first performance. This group is composed of Korean-American students and students from other ethnic groups. Their flashy dance moves and singing attracted the audience’s attention. Many in the audience were surprised because a white girl sang, in clear Korean, the Korean cover of the song “I Will Survive.”

The highlight of the event was the performance of traditional Korean melodies. High school students in KAYAC (Korean-American Youth Assistance Coalition Inc.) played Korean traditional drums. It was not a perfect performance, but they received clapping and cheering. (…)

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