CHINATOWN, Manhattan (PIX11) — It’s the year of the rabbit!

So people across the tri-state area are getting a jump on Lunar New Year celebrations starting this weekend and lasting almost a month. It all culminated with the big blowout 25th Annual Lunar New Year Parade in Chinatown.

At the Museum of Chinese in America, known as MOCA, hundreds were packed inside to learn about Asian culture on Lunar New Year weekend. There was a beautiful lion dance, a noodle-pulling demonstration from Spicy Village and many exhibits about Asian culture.

“It’s really important to me,” Karen Yau, a mother of 2-year-old Luca, told PIX11 News. “I grew up Asian-American, but I didn’t have all this, and I love that he’s learning about this.”

“I am so thrilled because this is my year, the year of the rabbit,” Laurie Cumbo, the NYC Commissioner of Consumer Affairs, told PIX11 News. “And I am so happy to share my abundance and prosperity with the city of New York.”

At the South Street Seaport, there was a traditional lion dance outside the tin building, winding its way around the Heineken Riverdeck to the north side of Pier 17.

“This is a very traditional Chinese lion dance,” Vance Young, Lion Dance team coach, told PIX11 News, ”The lion symbolically chases away evil spirits…It is part of the tradition. Anytime we want to have a good omen, the lion brings us good luck.”

There was also a free calligraphy workshop.

Thousands also packed the Metropolitan Museum of Art on the Upper East Side to celebrate the beginning of the year of the rabbit.

So many families say it is important to teach their children about their heritage and celebrate with family.

“It’s similar to Christmas in China, but much longer,” Cindy Wang, a mother bringing her young son to The Met, told PIX11 News. “It’s 10 to 15 days, so you are given a lot of time to celebrate with your family.”

The 25th Annual Lunar New Year Parade will be held Sunday, Feb. 12, in Chinatown.