I was worn out from all of the excitement surrounding the New York Times Travel Show, as well as the days before spent touring Dutchess County. But despite my fatigue, I wanted more from the Big Apple before heading home. I wasn’t sure what – but the Big Rooster introduced me to a whole new celebration.
Walking a few blocks down Sara D. Roosevelt Park, I heard a loud gong and lots of cheering, and headed straight for the giant crowd.
I could tell I was at the entrance when a dragon floated right past me.
After it entered the arena, I looked around at how vast the crowd was. I could only get a spot on the outer edge, and even then was squished in-between tons of eager celebrations. I could hear the announcer thanking everyone for being there before he kicked-off the big show.
And man, they were loud! So much smoke, too. Everyone shouted “Happy New Year!” and cheered as they went off, popping poppers of confetti.
It was officially the year of the rooster. After the firecrackers, a central area opened up for people to buy paper crafts and rooster figurines, food and other memorabilia. McDonalds even gave out free Chinese New Year calendars and coupons.
I headed for the performance stage and snuck-up to the front to get a good view of the beautiful dances. I wish I knew each one’s significance. Does anyone know?
I ended the day with some pork and fried rice at a Chinese place down the street. Oh New York, how I love your adventures.
Celebrating the Lunar New Year in Washington, D.C.
Back in DC the next week, my sister and I grabbed some affordable MyTix to see the Lunar New Year celebration at the Kennedy Center.
The Beijing Symphony Orchestra played many songs, opera excerpts, and a dancer even came out. We heard different Chinese instruments and I truly felt the opera excerpt Imperial Concubine in Tang Dynasty: Ode to Pear Blossom in the pit of my stomach.
Some lucky people had little paper dragons in their pamphlets and they won lucky envelopes at the end. Everyone was in the spirit.
We celebrated downtown at New Big Wong in Gallery Place with half a Peking duck, fried rice, egg rolls, wanton soup; our classic Chinese-American favorites. We were astounded by the amazing prices – and the big pours of affordable wine – as we pigged out on the huge portions.
Have you celebrated Chinese New Year before? If so – where? What else can we experience next year?