WESTFIELD, NJ — The Westfield Area Chinese American Association celebrated Chinese New Year Saturday at the Presbyterian Church in Westfield with more than 200 members of the local Chinese-American community in attendance.

The festivities started with carnival-style activities for the kids, followed by a dinner of traditional Chinese cuisine and a talent show that included 20 acts with performers all ages.

Members of the WACAA said they value the new year celebration for the time they get to spend with their friends and family while also giving back to their community.

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“New Year gives us a chance to gather with our friends,” said Joy Qin, who has attended the celebration for the past five years. “It’s great we can get together and celebrate. It’s really a family thing. I feel great to be able to contribute to the Chinese community.”

Qin said that her whole family contributed to the event. She helped decorate the church and prepare desserts. Other members of her family planned performances for the talent show.

“In China, New Year is the biggest holiday,” said Chris Wu, a first-time attendee of the Westfield event. “In America, we take a day off for New Year and then forget about it. In China, we take two to three weeks off. It’s comparable to Thanksgiving or Christmas as far as get-togethers go.”

Chinese New Year was Feb. 16. This is the year of the Earth Dog. According to the Chinese zodiac, those born this year will be communicative, serious and responsible in their work.