More than 2,000 guests attended the third annual Chinese New Year event in Port Jervis, New York. The festivities — which were held on Jan. 22 at the Port Jervis Community Center — were a joyous and vibrant celebration to mark the start of the Lunar New Year, and featured traditional Chinese dances, musical performances, and delicious food.
The Western date of the Chinese New Year changes every year because of the lunisolar system used by the traditional Chinese calendar. 2023 is the Year of the Rabbit, while 2022 was the Year of the Tiger.
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The event was kicked off with a traditional lion dance performance, followed by a Chinese-style buffet, and many other live performances at the Erie Trackside Manor. The lion dance is a traditional performance passed down from ancient China, and is believed to bring good luck and prosperity to those who watch it.
The performers — dressed in elaborate yellow and red costumes — danced and acrobatically moved through the crowd — striking gongs and drums to the beat of the music.
In addition to the lion dance, there were also several other traditional Chinese performances, such as the dragon and ribbon dance. The dragon dance featured a large dragon puppet that was controlled by a group of dancers, while the ribbon dance — a traditional Chinese folk dance — was performed by a group of young dancers dressed in vibrant costumes.
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“We had a wonderful turnout. It was just crowded, with people shoulder to shoulder,” Port Jervis Tourism Board Chairwoman Laura Meyer told The Epoch Times. “I wish we had a room ten times larger.”
The event also drew the attention of New York State Senator James Skoufis, who was in attendance, as well as Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus, and many other organizations and sponsors, such as insurance company Healthfirst, and representatives from the Fa Yuan bookstore.
The Fa Yuan bookstore is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the teachings and materials of Falun Dafa through the sale of books and free seminars on the practice’s teachings and exercises.
Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, is a Chinese traditional spiritual discipline practiced by tens of millions of people in China and around the world since its introduction to the public in 1992.
While severely persecuted in China, Falun Dafa is freely practiced around the world, including in New York, where many practitioners have made their homes.
Skoufis also condemned the mass shooting that took place at a Chinese New Year celebration near Los Angeles on Jan. 22, and said he would support the local Chinese community in New York’s 42nd District that he represents, and recently won a third term in.
Rich variety of vendors
“We have so much to be grateful for in Orange County for all the contributions from our Chinese residents, their cultures, and investments. We are so proud to celebrate the new year, the Year of the Rabbit, and I’m so happy to be part of this wonderful celebration,” The Epoch Times quoted Neuhaus as saying.
The event also featured around 30 vendors, who sold everything from handcrafted souvenirs, jewelry, sweet treats and traditional Chinese food, such as dumplings, spring rolls, and noodles. Attendees were able to sample a variety of different dishes and experience the flavors of authentic Chinese cuisine.
As in previous years, the Chinese New Year event in Port Jervis was a wonderful celebration of Chinese culture, cuisine, and tradition. For many, it was an opportunity for the local community to come together and experience the beauty and richness of Chinese culture, and the event was well-organized — attracting a large crowd of people from different backgrounds and walks of life who came together to enjoy a day of joyous celebrations and fun.