I have a friend from Austria who is planning to visit NYC in 2011, and she asked me for advice of when would be a good time to go. She’s already been to NYC but it will be the first time she will be visiting with her husband who has not traveled outside of Europe. I will advise them they should visit during the first week of February when the Chinese community of NYC celebrate the Year of the Rabbit. As part of the celebration, I’d invite them for dim sum and to watch the parade of dancing dragons and lions with confetti falling around. The parade isn’t just a celebration of the New Year, but also the Chinese community in America.
Chinese New Year is held in a special place in my heart, partly because it is my heritage but mainly, it reminds me of my childhood. I remember going into Chinatown with my parents and brother to watch the festivities. I was fascinated with the colorful lions as they danced and jumped to the beat of the drums and cymbals; their eyelashes batting playfully, and their mouths flapping open with happiness. At that age, the dancing lions were mythical creatures that brought fortune and happiness, and not just two men in elaborate costumes moving in sync with each other.
I think my Austrian friends would enjoy this as they will get a taste of Chinese culture while they visit one of the greatest cities in the world.