MILLBURN, NJ – Some of the largest cities in the world began Chinese New Year celebrations on Saturday.  As the world eagerly awaits the beginning of the Lunar New Year on Monday, an estimated 1.4 billion people will go to parties and festivities throughout the weekend as we soon enter the 4,713th year in the Chinese calendar. 

Sydney, San Francisco, Vancouver and our very own New York City plays host to parades, fireworks and special showings of Chinese art at some of the world’s most renowned museums.  London, boasting the largest Chinese New Year party outside of Asia, will have activities in three of the main sections of the city.  

Joining the worldwide celebration, The Millburn/Short Hills Chinese Association hosted their 8th annual Lunar New Year celebration on Saturday night.  The evening’s events included a traditional New Year’s supper and a variety show performance that included 80 township kids and parents.  450 people came out to Millburn Middle School to attend the event.

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“When we first announced the date of our celebration, we received 200 responses in the first 15 minutes. “ Said Roy You, President of the Millburn/Short Hills Chinese Association during an interview with TAP Millburn/Short Hills.  “We had to change our venue to a larger space to accommodate everyone, and we still have people on a waiting list.”

The association began in 2005 by a township resident who desired to assist newcomers acclimate to the neighborhood and to promote Chinese culture in Millburn/Short Hills.  From its humble beginnings 11 years ago, it has grown to over 300 members. 

The actual date of the New Year, also referred to as the Spring Festival, changes year by year.  Traditionally it’s celebrated with a gathering of friends and family, food, music, entertainment and well wishes to one another for fortune and good health.  Tradition also dictates that kids receive an envelope with money inside for good luck.  At the Association’s celebration, every kid received an ornate envelope filled with cash.  Lucky kids!

The celebration supper was composed of the traditional New Year’s fare.   Pork dumplings accompanied by steamed fish and Chinese vegetables, layered over a bed of white rice. 

The middle school’s theatre provided the prefect venue for the variety show.  Singers sang modern American and traditional Chinese songs, martial artists demonstrated Kung Fu, and dancers showcased modern and folk styles.  Musicians also entertained the audience with classical piano and violin pieces.

“Tonight we will have 14 performances by about 80 kids and many parents.  Each year the number of acts grow as well as our membership.” Said Xiaoli Wang, board member and Performance Chairwoman.  “This is the biggest celebration of the year for us and our community.”

A zodiac animal characterizes each Chinese New Year.  2016 is the year of the monkey and according to Feng Shui expert Chen Shuaifu, this year we will experience “a big slide in the world economy.”  However, his predictions are not all bad.  He suggests in a recent nbcnews.com article, “It’s a good year for people to give birth and to look for love.”

He also predicts a difficult campaign year for Donald Trump and not a good year for those born in the Year of the Dog.   However, he expects good fortune for Hilary Clinton and those born under the Year of the Pig.  Shuaifu also foresees a good year for President Barack Obama.  If Shuaifu's predictions are accurate, perhaps 2016 should be renamed to be the Year of the Democrat.

 

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