New York City's Chinatown welcomed the Year of the Horse with Lunar New Year festivities that began on Friday, January 31 with the Firecracker Ceremony & Cultural Festival and continued on Sunday, February 2 with the 15th Annual Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade & Festival.
New York City's Chinatown, two square miles, is the largest Chinatown in the United States and the site of the largest concentration of Chinese in the western hemisphere is located on the lower east side of Manhattan. Manhattan's Chinatown is also one of the oldest ethnic Chinese communities outside of Asia. At the Lunar New Year, it is the scene for a fantastic street party with vendors, food and festivities, and heritage and ancient traditions on view.
There is still time to get into the spirit: The Museum of Chinese in America (MoCA) is hosting "Preparing for the New Year Walking Tours" on Saturdays and Sundays through February 9 (11 am-12:30 pm and 1-2:30 pm, $15/person). The walking tour begins at the Museum lobby at 215 Centre Street (between Grand and Howard Streets).
"Lunar New Year is the liveliest and most important celebration in Chinese culture and Chinatown is the place to experience it! MOCA’s walking tour takes visitors through Chinatown to learn about holiday traditions and customs observed by Chinese households. Witness how the neighborhood transforms itself in preparation for the New Year and discover the characteristics that make this holiday unique."
Tours are conducted in English and are led by MoCA docents with personal or family roots in the neighborhood. In case of inclement weather, tours will be held in the galleries. Advance reservations are required. For information and reservations call 212-619-4785 or purchase tickets online, www.mocanyc.org.
For more information, visit www.chinatown-online.com.
See slideshow: Sights of the 15th Annual Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade & Festival.
Karen Rubin, Long Island Eclectic Travel Examiner
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