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The Year of the Rabbit

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White Rabbit., Digital ID 411509, New York Public LibraryAccording to the Chinese Lunar Calendar, 2011 is the year of the rabbit, a zodiac symbol that is equivalent to Pisces in the Western tradition. This year the festival begins on February 3rd and ends sometime on the 17th but the celebrations may continue beyond that date in some households.  Some people may host special dinners on the eve of February 2nd to mark a new year of happiness and prosperity.  From America to Australia, Chinese New Year is widely celebrated and has a history that can be traced back to Ancient China.  

This is an exciting moment for family reunion greetings, gatherings, sharing and feasting. The holiday can also be seen outside of households; in major cities with large Chinese communities, the streets are often filled with parades of firecrackers, dancing and singing; they are illuminated by the color red which represents fortune in the Chinese culture. Depending on the parents, children might be given an unofficial day off from school; many will also receive a lucky red envelope known as "hong bao" which contains cash to ensure prosperity for the receiver and the giver (a family member or family friend who is married).

At NYPL, we have programs, events and resources to express our enthusiasm for the Chinese New Year tradition! 

Here is a sample of upcoming programs and events throughout our libraries:

Chinese New Year., Digital ID 1639792, New York Public Library

Traditional Music from China 
Saturday, February 5 at 3:30pm
Stephen A. Schwarzman Building

Traditional Music from China
Wednesday, February 9 at 4:00pm
Chatham Square Library

Chinese New Year Craft
Friday, February 11 at 3:30pm
Chatham Square Library

Chinese New Years Arts & Crafts
Wednesday, February 23 at 3:30pm
Van Cortlandt Library

Chinese Movies @ Chatham Square
Thursday, February 17 at 4:30pm
Chatham Square Library 

For more, please visit the classes, programs and exhibitions page. As they say in Mandarin Chinese, "xin nian kuai le!" (shin neeahn kwai la) - Happy New Years!


 

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cool post!

Raymond, thank you for sharing! It's great to learn more about Chinese New Year and all the related celebrations at the library. Just curious... why is the red envelope given from a friend or family member who is married? Does someone who is married every receive one or are they only given to younger or not-yet-married friends and relatives?

Thanks!

Hi Jenny: Thank you for your comment. I think partly because married people tend be viewed as mature (and working) adults. The red envelop signifies blessings to younger people typically. Those who are married were once single and received the red envelop - so it is a cycle of giving and blessing. Raymond

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