The next two weeks will be noisier, colorful, and tastier in New York City than usual. On January 29, 2014, Chinese New Year will begin at 11 a.m. with the fifteenth annual New Year Firecracker Ceremony held at Roosevelt Park. There will be festivities throughout the city in celebration with the huge Chinese population who call New York City home.
Believed to go back in prehistory, but according to some, the Chinese New Year has Buddhist roots. Buddha promised gifts to every animal that paid him homage. But only twelve animals did. For that, he gave each animal a year in the Chinese Zodiac calendar. This year is the year of the horse that symbolizes intelligence, warmth, energy and ability.
On February 2, 2014 at 1 p.m. the Chinese New Year parade will begin throughout Chinatown. New York Chinatown is crowded any day of the year, but during this parade especially. People will crowd the sidewalks and shop owners will come out and view the parade. Without climbing a light pole or something with some height, many spectators will not see the parade. But if one is lucky enough to squeeze strategically through the people and get a front row spot (or just be really tall) he will be rewarded with cultural dancing, costumes, and floats. It is best to wait at the end of the parade route as in the beginning and middle, the crowds are so congested.
After the parade or really anytime during the Chinese New Year, try some Chinese food. Chinatown has everything from Americanized Chinese food, like sweet and sour chicken, to not so American Chinese food, such as sea cucumbers and there was a live fish sighting at a restaurant.
It is a great cultural festival for everyone whether Asian or not without actually being anywhere near the Asian continent.