Chinese New Year celebrations resonate across US
The Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations kicking off across the United States highlight the important role of cultural exchanges in forging deep connections between China and the United States.
The celebration of the Lunar New Year itself helps promote mutual understanding and communication between different cultures, according to people participating in the annual feast.
A TRADITION TAKING ROOT
Celebrating the Chinese Lunar New Year is becoming a tradition for many residents and institutions across the United States as Chinese culture, especially the unique Chinese zodiac, adds upbeat elements to life.
New York landmarks like the Empire State Building and the World Trade Center were lit up in red on Sunday night to celebrate the Year of the Tiger with the new tourist attraction Vessel at Hudson Yards to follow suit on Feb. 1.
The Empire State Building is shining red for the 22nd consecutive year in celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year.
The Empire State Building is also staging a window show featuring a festive installation with artistic imagery and representations of this year's animal, the tiger.
"Our tower lighting and Fifth Avenue window displays are annual Lunar New Year traditions at the Empire State Building, and we are happy to celebrate the Chinese community in the United States, in China, and all over the world," said Jean-Yves Ghazi, president of the Empire State Building Observatory.
Disney's California Adventure Park recently kicked off celebrations of the Year of the Tiger featuring a string of Chinese culturally-themed performances, art shows, lantern decorations and Asian-inspired dishes.
The National Basketball Association and its teams began celebrating Lunar New Year in 2012 and since then, all 30 teams have celebrated the annual spring festival holiday with in-game elements, live performances, traditional food, partner activations, and more.
The New York-based Brooklyn Nets recently celebrated Chinese Lunar New Year while hosting the Los Angeles Lakers, as part of the NBA's 11th Lunar New Year league-wide campaign to celebrate the most important annual holiday for Chinese around the world.
The New York Philharmonic will stage its yearly special performance to celebrate Chinese Lunar New Year on Feb. 8.
"Now, this is the 10th anniversary of the New York Philharmonic, doing a special concert to mark Lunar New Year," said Deborah Borda, president and CEO of the New York Philharmonic in a pre-recorded video to the Chinese Consulate General in New York.
Artists from the U.S.-China Music Institute of the Bard College Conservatory of Music Sunday presented its third Chinese New Year Concert "The Sound of Spring" in New York City with around 1,000 people in attendance.
"The Sound of Spring" made a comeback to the stage in New York City after it went online last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
STRONG BOND FORMED
Borda highlighted the partnership between New York Philharmonic and Shanghai Symphony Orchestra and paid her respect to Shirley Young, a legendary business leader and long-time advocate for China-U.S. exchanges, who passed away at the end of 2020.
"There's been a tremendous amount of interchange. And of course the thing we look forward to the most is getting back to Shanghai and being with our Shanghai family as well," said Borda.
Music and culture help connect different peoples, according to Jindong Cai, director of the U.S.-China Music Institute.
New York City's Chinese community is integral to the rich and diverse culture of the five boroughs, and over 1 million Chinese visitors came here annually before the pandemic, noted Fred Dixon, president and CEO of NYC & Company, New York City's official destination marketing organization.
"Our friendship and bond with China and the Chinese people have a long history. Promoting our rich local Chinese culture is vitally important," said Dixon in a video in celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year.
"Each and every day I'm reminded of the inspiring strength and resilience shown by our friends in the Chinese community, in Massachusetts and throughout our nation," said Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito.
"We are proud to have such a vibrant piece of Chinese culture in Massachusetts and I'm grateful for our continued friendship and collaboration," said Polito, wishing this Year of the Tiger to be filled with good health, prosperity, and wisdom.
"I love China, its people, its culture, and wish it nothing but the best for the Year of the Tiger," said Peter B. Walker, a member of the board of trustees with New York-based Chinese Institute, adding that China has made enormous progress across a number of areas in the last 40 years.
"Back to my very first trip to China, I was so moved by what I saw versus what I had heard about China growing up in the small town in Iowa," said Jim Yong Kim, former president of the World Bank.
"May the New Year bring opportunities for us to work together, to build the infrastructure of a thriving world by facilitating relationships, partnerships and international understanding," said Peter Tichansky, CEO of Business Council for International Understanding.