NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Thousands of Queens residents rang in the Year of the Rat on Saturday, lining a parade route stretching down Union Street.
Under cloudy skies in Flushing, the street scene was vibrant and enthusiastic.
“This parade has been going on for 25 years and it’s the largest celebration in Queens for the Lunar New Year. You see even for this weather, still so many people participating,” Flushing resident Luna Liu said.
“It’s the Lunar New Year’s parade right here in Flushing. It’s really one of the biggest around, not just New York, but the country,” Sen. John Liu said.
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Every step, song and streamer is meant to drum up dreams of health, wealth and happiness over the next 12 months.
Organizers say this is a time to be with family and wear bright colors, like lots of red.
In return, you can expect to get a fresh start and good luck. That is liable to rub off on every member of Saturday’s crowd, from the spectators on the sidelines to all the marchers, including city and state leaders.
“We’re leaving the Year of the Pig and going into the Year of the Rat, and the great thing about our great city is that every month of the year, there’s a different type of celebration for the amazing people who call New York City home. Queens County is the most diverse county in the United States of America,” New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said.
The rain did not seem to affect attendance at the event.
“The turnout here is as big as any other year,” Sen. John Liu said.
“Nothing can stop us from celebrating who we are and how we are going to face all the challenges together,” Luna Liu said.
“We have a big population of Asians, so, like, that’s great. We celebrate everywhere,” Bayside resident Andrew Chiu said.
“Everywhere” means worldwide. There were dragon dancers underneath the Eiffel Tower in Paris, prayers by lantern light in Kuala Lumpur, a wishing tree in Hong Kong and a spectacular spring festival light show in Dubai.
Queens residents made their own magic here at home, happy and positive the Year of the Rat will be rat-ical.