CHINATOWN, Manhattan (PIX11) — Families came together Sunday to ring in the Lunar New Year.

Thousands gathered at Sara Roosevelt Park in Chinatown to celebrate the start of the Year of the Rabbit. Better Chinatown ran a festival at the park.

“It brings out luck for the new year to ward off all the evil spirits that may be from the past year,” Theresa Tin, the coordinator of Better Chinatown, told PIX11 News. “It brings out prosperity for the new year and good look and health.”

There were fireworks, sparklers and confetti in the air. There were teeny $100 bills on the ground, symbolizing prosperity for the Year of the Rabbit.

“The firecrackers are unexpectedly loud and smoke came directly into my face,” Vernice Chan, a reveler, told PIX11 News. “It was such an amazing thing to experience.”

It was a multicultural crowd in the park on Sunday, with many eager to learn more about Asian culture, including Noelia Cardoso and her two daughters, Nara and Rocio, who are of Mexican descent.

“We’re so happy to be here,” the mom said. “It’s amazing. It’s very special to learn something new to celebrate with them.”

Rocio Cardoso, 10, enjoyed the experience.

“This is an opportunity for us little kids to realize how Mexican and Asian culture are very similar,” she said.

Over on Mott Street, the lantern festival was an equally joyous celebration for the start of Lunar New Year with a lion and dragon dancing through the streets.

“To all the Chinese and Americans here, have a good Rabbit Year,” Kitty Chan, a reveler, told PIX11 News.

The Lunar New Year celebrations end with the 25th annual parade through the streets of Chinatown on Feb. 12.