NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - A large crowd filled the DeCorso Community Center in New Providence to celebrate the Spring Festival on Sunday, February 11.

The Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year or the Spring Festival, is celebrated by many places in Asia and is one of their biggest holidays. It commemorates the beginning of a New Year and of Spring and is based around the moon’s cycle, as opposed to calendar date as is done with the conventional New Year.  Each year the Chinese calendar assigns an animal from a rotating zodiac of 12 animals. In Chinese astrology, each animal sign is also associated with one of the five elements: Metal, Wood, Water, Fire, or Earth. 2018 is the year of the Earth Dog, a combination that has not occurred since 1958.

"We traditionally bring in the New Year with a celebration and this year is no different. We thank the old year, the year of the rooster, and we welcome in the new year, the year of the dog," said event emcee Cameron Xu along with Julia Zhu. He welcomed Mayor Al Morgan, Councilman Robert Munoz, Councilwoman Nadine Geoffroy and Diversity Chair Sunil Abrol.

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In the four years since the inception of this event, Morgan told the crowd that it is "truly amazing what the Diversity Committee does" under the leadership of Arbol. He credits Jane Xu for her endless energy in coordinating the event. "It's great community partners that make this town great," said Morgan.

"The Chinese community has grown  exponentially in New Providence and they have brought so many great traditions and talent to this community," said Morgan. The audience members were treated to a dozen acts that included Kung Fu demonstration, dancers, "Happy Drums", musicians and the festive Dragon Dance, in which the children were invited to participate. In addition to the performances, there was a buffet table with food and craft room for the children.

It's events such as this Lunar New Year Celebration that helps to share culture and traditions community wide. As the chair of the Diversity Committee, Arbol thanked the organizers and sponsors for their work. "This is what makes these events a great success." 

He explained what diversity means to him. "To me, diversity is really trying to show that we are members of one human family," said Arbol.. --"It is like one big tree with so many branches of leaves. Every branch, every leaf is important -- every child in this room, every grandparent in this room and every mother and father is important and they bring something of value to our town. So, I want to promote that. That's why we are involved in diversity." 

Event sponsors include: Dee Huang Real Estate, EnDotLink, Fan Bistro, Kelly Ju Real Estate, Oriental Genius Academy Preschool, Szechuan Delight, Ying Liu IVY Mortgage, Alex Wang, J&V HVAC Service, blue Fountain Day Spa, Integrated Tech Solution, Lucy Hair cut, Luminous Medspa and Salon and Sakana Modern Japanese.