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Chinese New Year celebrations delight other side of the Pacific

Xinhua | Updated: 2019-02-09 10:25
The top of the landmark Empire State Building in Manhattan shined in red, blue and yellow on the nights of Monday and Tuesday to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year. [Photo/Xinhua]

While Chinese New Year celebrations are in full swing in China, cultural activities held across North America to mark the most important festival of China are no less enthralling, spreading the joy to the other side of the Pacific.

Dragon and lion dances, Chinese cuisines, Peking opera performances, light shows... a flurry of events in the United States and Canada have deepened people's understanding of the meaning and charm of the festival. And sometimes, they may even find themselves a bit richer when they are bestowed with red packets of "lucky money," part of the festival tradition.

A FEAST FOR EYES AND PALATES

Chinese Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival, fell on Feb 5 this year. In China, celebrations begin about a week in advance and end with the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the new year. It is an occasion for family members to reunite, bid farewell to the past year and celebrate the advent of a new spring, with its promise of renewal and hope.

The value placed in family and the universal wish for a new start partly explain why the traditional Chinese festival can so easily transcend borders and be embraced elsewhere. For kids who are not worldly enough to grasp the significance behind it, colorful events such as dragon dances and delicious Chinese food prove to be reason enough to enjoy the festival.

In New York, the landmark Empire State Building was glowing red, blue and yellow on Monday and Tuesday for the Chinese New Year. It is for the 19th consecutive year that the 443-meter skyscraper above midtown Manhattan shone in honor of the Chinese New Year.

The light show event will allow "native New Yorkers to experience a bit of beauty of the Chinese traditional cultural festival," said Chinese Consul General in New York Huang Ping.

In Times Square, an array of calligraphers from both China and the United States on Tuesday gave away their handwritings of "Fu," a Chinese character meaning fortune and luck, and red scarfs printed with the same character to hundreds of visitors at the "Crossroad of the World." Receivers of the gifts, upon learning the meaning of Fu character, were filled with joy and expressed their best wishes to the Chinese people around the world.

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