The 25th annual Lunar New Year Celebration in New York City’s Chinatown is a highly anticipated event that gathers thousands of people each year. The celebration is a two-week-long event that began on Jan. 22 and concluded with a parade on Feb. 12. It is an exciting event full of Chinese culture that Drew students had the wonderful opportunity to witness in-person last Sunday.
The trip was orchestrated by i-House Coordinator Tamayo Zhou and was open to the general Drew population. “I have been wanting to bring students to visit NYC Chinatown since last year,” he said. “I wanted to expose students to unique immersive experiences, create a sense of community, or even offer an ‘outside of the classroom’ learning opportunity on diversity and globalization.”
The trip was also attended by students in the Chinese Studies Department. “I had a lot of fun personally considering I had never actually gotten to participate in a celebration,” said Persephone Goldberg (‘26). They are studying Chinese at Drew and stated that they are “proud of the knowledge I had learned over the years coming into play, but it was also interesting to see how much I had to grow in my language skills.”
Upon entering Chinatown, the students were met with crowds of people eagerly anticipating the commencement of the parade. There were swarms of people dressed in red to symbolize good luck, and the air exploded with glitter-filled poppers to scare away bad spirits. Both parade members and bystanders wore traditional clothing, and the animated dragon and lion puppets were truly a sight to behold as they danced to the beat of drums. The conclusion of the parade marked the beginning of the year of the rabbit.
The Lunar New Year Parade in New York City was a marvelous display of rich Chinese culture within the city’s historic Chinatown. The event was not only highly entertaining for students but was also a great form of education regarding Chinese costumes. Zhou highlighted many students did not have the luxury of attending cultural events like these during the COVID-19 pandemic. After years of isolation, a wealth of opportunities have opened up for students to immerse themselves in other cultures. For students interested in participating in more experiences like the Lunar New Year Parade, Zhou announced that applications for students to live in i-House for next year have opened, emphasizing that the theme house hopes “to continue creating events to highlight the diverse culture we have on campus and in the community.” More information about the application can be found at tinyurl.com/ihouse23.
Amelia Tirey is a sophomore majoring in history with minors in political science and music.