It's Chinese (and many other kinds of) New Year, and Asians all over the world are partying like it's 4703. Gothamist urges you to do the same this Year of the Rooster - just head to Chinatown, eat a lot of food and you're pretty much covered. There will be a firecracker ceremony (to scare away the evil spirits) today at 2PM, and a parade this Sunday. On both days, you'll see lion dancers (more scaring of the spirits) and storeowners giving the lion dancers lucky money for scaring the spirits away. Think mystical mafia-like payments to keeping the establishment safe. More Chinese New Year in Chinatown details here at Explore Chinatown, plus where to get Lunar New Year goodies.
A USA Today article highlighted the extreme superstitions of the Chinese yesterday:
This week, according to the Chinese calendar known as huang li, Monday is a good day to sweep the graves of ancestors or start construction. But it's a bad day to move into a new house or travel north. Tuesday is a good day to get a haircut and cultivate plants but unlucky for a funeral.
Wednesday is ideal for visiting friends, but bad for moving to a new house. Thursday is an excellent day to worship the dead, unless you have to travel to do it. Friday is a good day to move an ancestor's grave, but not to move the living.
"If you follow all the traditions," Ren [a man whom people consult to plan auspicious occasions] sighs, "you can't get anything done."
It's so true - that's why Gothamist is finding it terribly hard to get our act together. Sadly, this excuse doesn't swing in the office so much. And this year, 4703, doesn't have a spring, causing many Asian New Yorkers to rush to the city clerk's office for marriage licenses on Chinese New Year's Eve.
The Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco has a great explanation of different Chinese New Year customs. And here's Cha Xiu Bao's guide to what different foods mean symbolically to the Chinese [via a full belly]. If you're in Chinatown this weekend, we might see you at the parade (starting at 1PM)! And Bluejake's photos from the Chinatown parade last year.