NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Millions of people around the globe are getting ready to celebrate the Lunar New Year, which starts Saturday.
The Empire State Building is already lit in red for the festivities.
CBS2’s Cindy Hsu visited PS 20, where students were singing Happy New Year songs in both English and Chinese. They knew all about the Lunar New Year, which lasts for 15 days.
“Go to friends’ houses for 15 days to play with each other, and eat food and be happy together,” 7-year-old Yumiki Luu explained.
There are certain foods that will bring good luck.
“Apples and oranges and dumplings,” 7-year-old Mariah Santiago said.
And lots of noodles for a long life.
Lucky colors to wear are red and gold. You want to stay away from wearing black and white, with a few exceptions.
“Don’t wear a whole black shirt unless it has Chinese stuff on it,” 7-year-old Mateo Tangoreilly said.
Lions will dance at businesses for the blessing of wealth and good luck. There are two lion dancers inside the costumes — one in the back while the other operates the head, which is exhausting work.
“This is pretty tough. It took me three to four years to get it down right,” lion dancer Victor Fong said.
There’s a secret to the eyes.
“So there’s a trigger right here. When you pull it down, it blinks the eyes,” Fong said. “So you know blinking means you’re happy.”
Some call the holiday the Chinese New Year, but it’s celebrated by lots of groups, including Vietnamese, Koreans and Filipinos. So it’s more inclusive to call it Lunar New Year.
If you have a sweet tooth, you’re in luck.
“You might want to have some seeds if you’re trying to have children, because it represents fertility,” Joanne Kwong, of Pear River Mart.
Candied melon represents good health.
“These sweet potatoes kind of look like gold, so it’s like a pot of gold when you have candied sweet potatoes,” Kwong said.
You’ll also see a lot of red envelopes filled with lucky money.
“Usually married couples would give it to kinds, or single, unmarried people,” Kwong said.
Amaya Phillips, another 7-year-old, has been celebrating the Lunar New Year for years and said it’s a holiday everyone can enjoy.
“It’s a great holiday and people love it, and the food is great, you get to dress up,” she said. “It’s just awesome. And you get to watch parades and everything.”
This is the year of the rooster, and the celebration will last until February 11.