Reporting Irene Cornell
NEW YORK (WCBS 880 / AP) - It may not feel like Spring in New York City but Thursday marks the welcoming of the Chinese Lunar New Year — Spring Festival.
Celebrations for the year 2011, also the year of the rabbit, are being held across the city. A firecracker ceremony and cultural fair will be going on Thursday at the Sara D. Roosevelt Park between Grand and Hester in Mahattan.
The big event will come Sunday when the city holds the 12th Annual Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown. As a part of I Love New York City Pets Month, which is held every February to encourage New Yorkers to adopt a homeless pet, a windowed vehicle with a dozen adoptable rabbits will make its way through the parade.
Fireworks, parades, and dancing dragons are part of the traditional celebration. So is food – a feast to symbolize good fortune.
“Many Chinese people serve a whole fish because it symbolizes a proper beginning and end to the year and it signifies abundance,” says Grace Young, author of “Stir Frying to the Sky’s Edge.”
She says, “Some people stir fry lettuce because lettuce symbolizes growing fortune. The word for lettuce is a homonym for growing fortune, Mushrooms also symbolize prosperity because they grow very quickly.”
As for things you should not do on Asian Lunar New Year’s: sweep your floor. You could be sweeping out your good luck.
The Year of the Rabbit conjures images of fluffy bunnies, but fortunetellers in Asia predict that the coming year on the Asian lunar calendar will be anything but cuddly.
Among key predictions for the new year beginning Feb. 3: terrorist threats, continuing tensions between China and the United States, natural disasters around the world and wobbly global markets.
In feng shui lore, the Year of the Rabbit is associated with the natural elements of metal and wood. This is a likely recipe for conflict, according to Hong Kong-based feng shui consultant Raymond Lo.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)