NEW YORK — Festivities were in full swing across the city Tuesday where thousands rang in the Lunar New Year.
Costumes, firecrackers and confetti flooded the streets in and around Chinatown where many welcomed the Year of the Pig.
In Sara D. Roosevelt Park in Lower Manhattan, thousands of students who got the day off reveled in a massive firecracker presentation that literally stopped traffic.
Mayor Bill de Blasio also took part in festivities, marking the day with a proclamation that honored the oldest community in Chinatown - the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association.
“New York City is the greatest city in the world and it would never have been possible without the contributions of the Chinese community that helped to make us great,” he told a packed room at the CCBA headquarters.
With over 450,000 Chinese Americans living in New York City, the Big Apple is home to the largest Chinese population outside of Asia.
It’s why in 2015, the city made the first day of the Lunar New Year a school holiday.
The Chinese New Year, which is dictated by the lunar cycle, highlights a Chinese zodiac animal and this year, the pig gets the spotlight.
“The pig is a powerful year. It’s the earth pig,” said Nancy Yao Maasbach, President of the Museum of Chinese in America.
“Things are supposed to be calmer, but at the same time, pigs are caring and sympathetic and we should have a caring and sympathetic year we hope.”
MOCA is planning a number of events to celebrate the Lunar New Year.
Meanwhile, festivities will continue for the next 15 days around the city with the annual Lunar New Year parade happening later this month on February 17 in Chinatown.