LIVINGSTON, NJ — The Livingston Chinese community welcomed the Year of the Ox with a three-part Livingston Chinese Culture Day (LCCD) event that featured a car parade, Zoom games and a gala performance.
Thanks to the efforts of founding organizations Livingston Chinese Association, Livingston Chinese School, Livingston Huaxia Chinese School and Living Stone Christian Church as well as the Livingston High School (LHS) Chinese program and Livingston’s Senior, Youth & Leisure Services (SYLS) department, the annual event was able to be held in accordance with social-distancing guidelines. The event brought in a crowd of more than 160 households of many ethnicities to the online activities and more than 50 vehicles to the car parade.
Escorted by the Livingston Police Department, the parade of festively decorated cars marked the beginning of the day’s commemoration. Community members of all ages were able to see each other again in celebration of Chinese New Year.
Throughout the afternoon, children and adults also participated in various Chinese culture-themed activities via Zoom.
Jia Yonghong, Shi Ying and Jin Zhuo discussed the rich culture behind classical Chinese opera.
Painting experts Tony Lee and Suning and Guo Qingling commended the 26 participants of the painting competition and awarded those who best encapsulated the dedication of healthcare workers during the pandemic.
Elderly participants attended health lectures, where they were able to see their friends while physically distanced.
Virtual games led by 50 LHS volunteers featured trivia, riddles, Kahoot and rounds of “Among Us,” a popular video game where users play astronauts aboard a rocket ship.
Additionally, an evening gala hosted by Livingston Chinese Association Board Chair George Shen featured a dynamic exhibition of Chinese culture. Through choral ensembles, classical Chinese dances and comedic cross-talking, attendees experienced Chinese traditions and background. Hip-hop, Mongolian, and Tibetan dances introduced a diverse range of Chinese and Asian heritage during the virtual session.
“The [physical] Lunar New Year gathering was canceled,” said Shen. “However, the spirit of LCCD did not rest.”
Several local dignitaries attended the gala as well, including Livingston Mayor Shawn Klein, Livingston Public Schools (LPS) Superintendent of Schools Dr. Matthew Block, acting LHS principal and LPS Assistant Superintendent Mark Stern, Livingston Board of Education President Samantha Messer and more.
"This is truly one of the great community events of Livingston, and I'm so glad it continues on this year virtually so that we can all be together remotely,” said Stern. “The study and celebration of Chinese language and culture continues to be such a strong program of LHS, and we are so proud to be involved in this annual tradition."
Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill also spoke highly of the event, stating that although LCCD is typically a “wonderful gathering for dancing, food and celebrations with hundreds of people” in attendance and expressing gratitude toward the organizers for continuing the tradition in a way that allowed community members to “come together despite the pandemic.”
Despite the previous year’s challenges, the LCCD event organizers said the 2-21 event still served as a “tribute to the power of community.”
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