‘Roaring back in the Year of the Tiger’: Lunar New Year celebrated in Chinatown festival

The year of the tiger began with a bang in Chinatown Tuesday.

The community celebrated the start of the Lunar New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, with a firecracker ceremony and cultural festival hosted by Better Chinatown USA and the surrounding community.

Hundreds descended upon Sara D. Roosevelt Park to ring in the Lunar New Year on Tuesday morning. A festival of colors, the celebration saw dragon dancers snake their way through bustling crowds and firecrackers bursting.

Firecrackers were lit. Photo by Adrian Childress

This cherished festivity spans the first 15 days of the lunar calendar from Feb. 1 to Feb. 15 and ends with the Lantern Festival—a tradition that celebrates the first full moon of the year. One of the traditions of this holiday is cleaning the entirety of your home, particularly sweeping away ill-fortune and preparing for good luck. Additionally, red color adornments are hung throughout the streets, around storefronts, and homes welcoming a year of good fortune, happiness, and longevity.

Hundreds attended the celebration. Photo by Adrian Childress

This Lunar New Year welcomes the Tiger—which is a symbol of bravery, confidence, and unpredictability.  While all across the globe Asians from Korea, Singapore, Vietnam and other countries eagerly welcome the start of this honored occasion, there was also a light shined on the continued issue of Xenophobia. 

During a time when the AAPI community in New York has faced hardships, including loss of business during the COVID-19 pandemic and a slew of anti-Asian attacks, many hope the year of the Tiger will be a fresh, more positive start.

A little girl and her mother shoot confetti into the air. Photo by Adrian Childress

Mayor Eric Adams echoed this sentiment by cementing his efforts to push for a united New York City.

“Gung hay fat choy,” Mayor Adams said, wearing a traditional Chinese jacket, “​​As we continue to move forward and celebrate a new year, the year of the Tiger. It shows us the strength, the resiliency and the endurance as we move through COVID, as we move on to crime, as we open our economy, and I want you to know a recommitment more than ever to make sure that my AAPI community is safe in the city of New York as we end violence against this community. We stand united. This is a rich, important community that is important to all of us.”

Mayor Eric Adams address the crowd.Photo by Adrian Childress

Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine agreed.

“This is going to be the year of our comeback. The year where we say ‘No’ to Asian hate. Where we come together to support our Asian American, our AAPI communities, to support our small businesses. To make our communities safer, healthier and stronger. We’re gonna come roaring back in the year of the tiger,” Levine said.