It's the Lunar New Year this weekend, the first day of 4705 being this Sunday. The Year of the Pig is a very good year - pigs are fat and round, which means a prosperous and benevolent year. Some even think it's a good year to have babies, too! Chinatown will be celebrating the Year of the Pig this weekend and for the next few weeks. There's the Flower Market at Columbus Park today and tomorrow, and on Sunday, there's a New Year’s Day Firecracker Ceremony & Cultural Festival. The big parade will be two Sunday away on February 25, so get ready.

During the Chinese New Year, there are certain foods you can eat to celebrate. Explore Chinatown has a great guide to the New Year's foods, and the key is to eat round foods because they symbolize prosperity. Fish is also good, because the word fish in Chinese sounds like more and extra. Or eat something that rises, like a cupcake or bread. You should eat with a New Year's meal with your family (relatives or friends - whatever your definition of family is) and enjoy each other's company. Epicurious has tips for a Chinese New Year's menu.

Other New Year's superstitions: Have a clean house for the Lunar New Year (you can symbolically clean it - Kleenex that bathroom mirror!), but don't clean it too soon after the New Year, because you don't want to sweep away the new luck. Wear something new (socks, underwear, etc.).

Here are some more links to Chinese New Year's goings-on from amNY, the Museum of the Chinese in the Americas, and Explore Chinatown. Fatty Crab chef Zak Pelaccio took New York magazine on a Chinatown crawl. Another fun fact: 39 year old May May Gourmet Bakery, operating in Chinatown since 1968 and one of the oldest and few remaining "old time" businesses in Chinatown. This is their busiest time of the year as they specialize in manufacturing special Lunar New Year goods that are available at just this time of the year. They are also the largest Nian Gao ("Lunar New Year cake") manufacturer in Chinatown.

Photograph by Tien Mao