One of the most vibrant cultural celebrations is approaching, as billions around the globe prepare to celebrate Chinese New Year. This is a holiday that is steeped in centuries of tradition and symbolism. Also known as the Lunar New Year or the Spring Festival, Chinese New Year is a time for both grand extravagance–parades, fireworks, parties–and familial closeness, as it is traditional for families to gather for New Year’s Eve dinner. Gifts of money are often exchanged in red envelopes known as lai see or hongbao. Red, of course, is considered the luckiest color in Chinese culture and these envelopes are meant to ward off evil spirits.
The Year of the Rooster begins on January 28th. Roosters are those born after the Chinese New Year 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, and now, 2017. The lucky hours for roosters are said to be 5 p.m. – 7 p.m., so keep that in mind if you’re a rooster who’s planning to buy a Lottery ticket! If you’re a rooster that’s going on a job interview, tradition tells us that your lucky colors are gold, brown, and yellow. Other general ways to avoid bad luck this Lunar New Year, according to International Business Times: Do not eat porridge or meat with breakfast on New Year’s Day, do not wash your clothes on New Year’s Day, and do not sweep garbage on New Year’s Day; all are considered omens of bad luck according to Chinese traditions.
New York City’s Chinatown will host its annual parade, featuring food vendors, dragon dances, and amazing, colorful floats. A major part of Chinese New Year, like many other holidays, is food. We all love to eat, don’t we? If you want to celebrate a little closer to home and still enjoy some delicious food and drink, the Levittown Public Library will be hosting several fun programs and events in honor of the holiday. Adults can attend a Chinese Tea Ceremony and learn more about Chinese Tea culture from Scarlett (Hong) Morrongiello, a fourth-generation Chinese tea master. This special event, part of our ongoing Notable Noshes program series, will take place on Wednesday, January 25th at 7 p.m. You can also visit us for some hands-on tips. For example, learn how to cook an array of Chinese dishes with Chef Hongthong in our Innovation Station on Thursday, January 26th at 7 p.m. More information about these programs, including registration dates and guidelines, is available via our online newsletter. Don’t forget that the library also has a great collection of cookbooks dedicated to Chinese cooking techniques and dishes. If you can’t make it to the library (and we will missing seeing you here!), The New York Times has an impressive online collection of Lunar and Chinese New Year recipes. Educators, parents, or caregivers who would like to teach their children more about this special holiday can visit the Children’s Room for a great selection of picture and informational books about Chinese New Year.
Wishing everyone a healthy and prosperous new year!