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Ushering in the Year of the Horse

The zodiac symbol of The Horse symbolizes intelligence,

The zodiac symbol of The Horse symbolizes intelligence, warmth, energy and ability. Photo Credit: iStock

Fireworks, food and fun will take over the city as the celebration for the 2014 Lunar New Year -- the Year of The Horse -- which gallops into the city Friday.

Asian-American groups predict the festivities, which run through Feb. 14, will draw huge crowds from all over the world to the city.

Chinatown will hold its 15th annual New Year parade, which starts at 1 p.m. on Sunday and other boroughs will celebrate as well. Sunset Park's parade will take place on Sunday at 1 p.m. and the Asian-American community in Flushing will have its celebrations beginning at 10 a.m. on Feb. 8.

Yim Chan, the English secretary of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, said his organization will be hosting its own events in Chinatown on Friday.

There, tourists and visitors can see the traditional customs in action, including line dancing and the dragon dance.

"And it's not just limited to Chinatown residents," Chan said. "Everyone who wants to can celebrate. We are going to make a lot of noise -- a lot of young people will be active."

The Lunar New Year is so widely celebrated in the city that Queens lawmakers Rep. Grace Meng and state Sen. Daniel Squadron have called to make the first day an official school holiday, an idea Mayor Bill de Blasio and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito have openly supported.

According to Chinese tradition, the New Year celebration originates from an old tale in which a mythical beast, called Nian, terrorized Chinese villagers. The villagers wore red, played loud noises and lit firecrackers to scare the monster away. They also prepared an abundance of food in the hopes that Nian would be satiated by the food and stay away from them.

This evolved into the Lunar New Year, which is celebrated around the world in many Asian countries, including China, Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines.

Throughout the holiday, traditions include dining, performing customary dances, firework displays and exchanging red envelopes that contain money, all in the name of good fortune.

The zodiac symbol of The Horse symbolizes intelligence, warmth, energy and ability, according to the Confucius Institute at Pace University.


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