Lunar New Year festival kicks off Year of the Tiger

CHINATOWN, Manhattan (WABC) -- The Lunar New Year Firecracker Ceremony and Cultural Festival kicked off the Year of the Tiger in Chinatown.

The festival took place at Sara Roosevelt Park on Tuesday morning.

The celebration included parades, live music, fireworks, lion dance performances, food and more.

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A celebration for the Year of the Tiger got underway in Chinatown with speeches, music, dancing and more.



Like most other holidays, celebrating the beginning of the Lunar New Year hasn't been quite the same since the pandemic started.

"We always stay at home, quiet dinners, but today we can come out and celebrate with everybody," emcee Zao Zao Wang said.

The festival lasts around 40 days, and in China, the country observes a seven-day-long state holiday.



The Chinese Zodiac, a system that has existed in Chinese culture for more than 2,000 years, dictates which animal represents a given year.

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The cycle repeats every 12 years, and 2022 is Year of the Tiger, signaling bravery, courage, strength and hope.

"Year of the Tiger, it shows us the strength, the resiliency and endurance as we move through COVID, as we move through crime, as we open our economy," Mayor Eric Adams said.

Firecrackers were deployed, which are symbolic to ward off evil spirits.

The ritual was not so figurative this time around with a 361% increase in anti-Asian hate crimes last year in NYC.

"I'm recommitted more than ever to make sure my AAPI community is safe in New York as we end the violence against this community," Adams said.

The NYPD has announced stepped up patrols throughout the neighborhood as crowds gather to mark the Lunar New Year.

The community is rich in history and has high hopes for the future.

"I think that is a sign that we can bring Chinatown back, we can bring the United States back, we get back to normal life," Wang said.

Here are the 12 zodiac animals in order with accompanying years:

2023: Year of the Rabbit
2024: Year of the Dragon
2025: Year of the Snake

2026: Year of the Horse
2027: Year of the Goat
2028: Year of the Monkey
2029: Year of the Rooster
2030: Year of the Dog
2031: Year of the Pig
2032: Year of the Rat
2033: Year of the Ox

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Christina Huang lobbied for Asian American history to be taught in public schools, and her hard work has paid off and is now law in New Jersey. CeFaan Kim reports on this story.



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