Celebrating the Year of the Rabbit at the WTC
This year, we are looking forward to kicking off the Year of the Rabbit at the World Trade Center. Family-friendly events and activities that honor Asian culture and traditions will take place at the World Trade Center beginning on January 20 and continue through January 29.
As part of the celebrations, the Oculus will be lit in red and gold from January 20th through the 22nd. One World Trade Center's spire and podium will also be lit during that time to mark the occasion with traditional colors and motifs.
In partnership with the Consulate General of the People's Republic of China in New York, the Asian Cultural Center and the New York Chinese Cultural Center, the World Trade Center will be a place of festivities, which is particularly exciting after having been partially virtual the past two years due to COVID-19. As in previous years, the Oculus will be adorned with decorative signs and visitors can enjoy a traditional lion dance and family-friendly activities on the Oculus floor. See the full lineup of programming below and mark your calendars.
Date: January 23, 2023
Event: Lunar New Year Celebration with TheBLANC
Join the Asian Cultural Center in celebrating the new year with a variety of gifts, activities, and photo booths.
Date: January 28, 2023
Time: 12PM and 1PM
Event: Lion Dance Performance by the New York Chinese Cultural Center
Experience a traditional lion dance performance.
Date: January 29, 2023
Event: Traditional Dance and Musical Performance by the New York Chinese Cultural Center
Enjoy a traditional performance of music and dance to start off the new year.
See more event details here.
Whether this is your first time celebrating the Lunar New Year or if you’ve participated in its festivities in the past, read on to learn more about the history and traditions of the holiday.
Overview of Lunar New Year
The Lunar New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, celebrates the beginning of a new lunisolar calendar. It is the most important holiday in China, as well as in other East Asian countries, such as South Korea and Vietnam. The celebration lasts 16 days, and the date changes every year but usually begins around the end of January through mid-February. This year, it begins on January 22, 2023, and ends on February 5, 2023.
Traditionally, it is a time to honor deities and ancestors commemorated by feasts and time with families and culminates with the Lantern Festival.
Origins of Lunar New Year
The festival can be traced back to around 3,500 years ago with ancient roots to when the society was agriculturally based. It originated as a ceremonial day to pray to gods for a good harvest season.
One of the myths on the origin of the holiday is that there was a monster named Nian who would eat livestock, crops, and people on New Year’s Eve. In order to avoid his destruction, people would place food outside their doors for him. The legend goes that one old man figured out that Nian was frightened by loud noises and the color red. Thus began the tradition of setting off firecrackers and placing red lanterns and red scrolls on windows. Lion and dragon dances often tell the story of the Nian mythology and usually include loud drums to drive away any negative spirits.
There are many traditions that take place during the celebration period to symbolize success, abundance, and togetherness.
- Cleaning: The day before the Festival is devoted to cleaning to remove bad luck and make space for the good of the new year. On New Year's Day, showering is not permitted. Sweeping and throwing out garbage is not permitted prior to the fifth day in order to not remove good luck.
- Gifts: Red envelopes containing money are gifted to children to symbolize the transfer of fortune from elders to children.
- Foods: Dishes made from rice are commonly served as a symbol of togetherness and vary among regions, but fish is a must since it is supposed to bring abundance into the new year.
- Decorations: Red papers, lanterns and banners with calligraphy messages wishing for good health and fortune are hung around the home.
The Year of the Rabbit
Every year is associated with one of 12 animal zodiac signs and an element (Earth, Wood, Fire, Metal and Water). 2023 is the year of the Water Rabbit. The animal is thought to decide one’s career, health, and relationship success. The rabbit is considered the luckiest of the animals and symbolizes mercy, elegance, and beauty.
Three facts you may not have known about Lunar New Year:
- On Chinese New Year’s Eve, more fireworks are set off in the world than any other time.
- It causes the largest human migration in the world as people migrate back to their families for the holiday. It is called “chunyun” or Spring Migration.
- It is the longest holiday in China – lasting over two weeks.
Learn more about the holiday here.
In short, the Lunar New Year is a time of tradition and celebration and for families to come together to start the new year with good luck, good health, and prosperity. All are welcome to join us at the World Trade Center as we celebrate the luck of the rabbit!