'Year Of The Pig' Kicks Off As Thousands Jam Sara D. Roosevelt Park Near Grand Street For Live Performances, Food And More


NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There were Lunar New Year celebrations across the area on Tuesday, but none more colorful than the one in Manhattan.

CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge visited the Lower East Side, where festivities were underway welcoming in the Year of the Pig.

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Thousands of people were packed into Sara D. Roosevelt Park near Grand Street for the 20th annual Firecracker Ceremony and Cultural Festival. People from all backgrounds are invited to celebrate at the free event, where there are live performances, food, costumes and crafts. It’s especially nice for children as school was closed in the area, so expect to see plenty of families and students.

They are all learning about what the New Year is all about. It is celebrated across China, South Korea, Vietnam and, of course, communities in the United States.

Watch: Natalie Duddridge Reports From Lunar New Year Celebration 

The event’s organizer, Steven Tin of Better Chinatown USA, said each year the animal, in this case the pig, sets the tone for the year. He said the dog in 2018 was very high energy and very active and that can affect the economy, politics and your personal life. He expects the pig to be much more relaxed.

“The dog is pretty active, so I think last year, internationally, it’s a pretty active year. Hopefully this year is a little bit more smooth, relaxed type of international and U.S. situation,” Tin said.

“This is the first day of the new year, so we come here just for the celebrate with everybody. We are so happy,” Linda Chen added.

Organizers have said that 20 years ago this festival was started to reinvigorate business in the neighborhood that was struggling after the Sept. 11 terror attacks. They say it has grown every year since.

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The festival runs until 3:30 p.m. and the Lunar New Year celebrations last for the next two weeks.