NEW YORK (CBS 2) — The Tri-State is getting warmed up for one of the most festive times of the year for many Asians and Asian Americans.

The Lunar New Year arrives next Thursday, and people are already celebrating in Chinatown.

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The pre-Lunar New Year gala began as a flower market behind Confucius Plaza six years ago, but over the years it’s transformed into a mini-expo of sorts.

“It’s just a free market – see a lot of people, interact, see all this stuff,” 17-year-old Tiffany Tang said.

The spirit is out, particularly for the upcoming Year of the Rabbit. There were rabbit pendants, bracelets and charms, along with cookies, cakes and candles.

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“It’s a good time of peace and harmony,” Flushing resident Mon Ian Jee said. “Work on the family, hoping for a peaceful New Year. We all want that, and a little less now. Yes, that’s right – peace and snow.”

“I was not born in the year of the rabbit, so I really have no idea,” Michelle Tang, 9, said.

As long as you weren’t born in a rabbit year, the next 12 months may be the perfect time for love and marriage.

“Chinese people go by good dates,” marriage consultant Jennifer Yang said. “Last year, not so many good dates; Year of the Rabbit, a lot more, better dates.”

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Thursday, February 3 will mark the traditional start of the Lunar New Year.