Berkeley Heights, NJ, February 2018 – The Summit Area YMCA, in collaboration with the Berkeley Heights Diversity Council, is thrilled to be hosting the first Lunar New Year Festival (LNYF) at its Berkeley Heights YMCA branch on February 10, 2018 from 4:30pm to 6:30 pm. The event is free, open to the public and includes the participation and talents from several Asian organizations locally and from surrounding areas of New Jersey. The Summit Area YMCA continues to be committed to creating a culture in which diversity and inclusion are integral in our community with festivals such as the Lunar New Year Festival.
The Lunar New Year, also popularly known as the Chinese New Year or the Spring Festival in China, is also a holiday that is celebrated by many other places including Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Mongolia and more. The holiday is based on the lunar-solar calendar, and while many Asian and South East Asian countries share influences from the Chinese culture, they also have many traditions and customs unique to each country, along with different names for the holiday such as Seollal in Korea, Songkran in Thailand, or Tết in Vietnam. A common theme for the Lunar New Year resides in the joyous celebration with friends and family. For some cultures, it is also a time to observe traditions and customs, to honor household and heavenly deities, ancestors, and to ward off evil spirits for the new year.
In Chinese culture, 2018 in the Chinese zodiac is the year of the Dog. According to the Travel Chinese Guide, “This is a Year of Earth Dog, starting from Feb. 16, 2018 and lasting to Feb. 4, 2019. Dog is the eleventh in the 12-year cycle of Chinese zodiac sign. Dog is man's good friend who can understand the human's spirit and obey its master, whether he is wealthy or not. The Chinese regard it as an auspicious animal. If a dog happens to come to a house, it symbolizes the coming of fortune.”
At the festival, enjoy the richness of Asian customs and culture through a selection of exciting performances and activities. Witness the awe-inspiring Lunar New Year Lion Dance, Chinese cultural music and dance, Taekwondo demonstrations and the rare Korean Folk Drum dance by esteemed New York based theatrical performer, Vong Pak. Sample popular Asian snacks like fruit jelly sticks, coconut, pandan or taro cakes, rabbit candies, and more, or buy fresh, delicious Thai offerings from local restaurants Kawee Thai Cuisine and Proud Thai Cookery. Take part in an interactive martial arts demonstration, get your face painted and transform into your Zodiac animal, learn calligraphy and see traditional Asian fashion on display. Children can express their creativity by making their own lanterns, paper drums, origami projects or participate in the Dragon Parade to chase away evil spirts and welcome the New Year. Enjoy an evening of excitement, cultural sharing, and fun!
See below for a complete list of the participating organizations and activities:
LION DANCE - Wushu Kungfu Fitness Center of East Hanover
WUSHU & WINGCHUN Martial Arts - Wushu Kungfu Fitness Center of East Hanover
KUNGFU & TAICHI - Shaolin Kungfu & Taichi of Warren
KOREAN FOLK DRUM DANCE - Vong Pak
MUSIC & DANCE Performances - Spring Academy Montessori
CHILDREN'S DRAGON PARADE - Chase away the evil spirits and bring in good luck for 2018 in our Children's Dragon Parade!
CHILDREN'S ARTS & CRAFTS
STORYTIME - Featuring 3 Lunar New Year Stories at 5:15pm, 5:30pm, and 6:00pm
LION DANCE INTERACTIVE DEMO
TAEKWONDO BOARD BREAKING DEMO
CHINESE ZODIAC FACE PAINTING - provided by Spring Academy Montessori
ASIAN TRADITIONAL FASHION DISPLAY
ASIAN SNACKS & DRINK SAMPLES - YUM!
LUNAR NEW YEAR PHOTO BOOTH
AWESOME PRIZES, GIFT CARDS AND CERTIFICATES from the Summit Area YMCA, Ye’s Asian Bistro, Seoulite’s, Master Yoo’s Summit Taekwondo, Shaolin Kungfu & Taichi, Wushu Kungfu Fitness Center, Spring Academy Montessori and more!
Can’t make the Festival on February 10th? Why not celebrate at home with a traditional Chinese staple, Lunar New Year Fish Dumplings? Celebrating with food and feasting with family is a popular Chinese New Year tradition. Jenny Hui, YMCA Creative Services and Marketing Manager and Chinese American shares this recipe with her own healthy twist. To read up on her delicious recipe, go to: https://www.thesay.org/Blog/Article/195/Lunar-New-Year-Healthy-Ginger-Scallion-Fish-Dumplings
The Summit Area YMCA is proud to be the first Global Center of Excellence within the State of New Jersey, now known as the Diversity Inclusion and Global Network or DIG Innovation Network committed to creating a culture in which diversity and inclusion are integral to everyday operations. Through welcoming, inclusive practices and environments, our Y and its three branches will welcome and engage all people from all diverse groups of the community to help and impact lasting, meaningful change. To learn more about our programs on diversity or to join the conversation go to: https://www.thesay.org/About-Us/Diversity-Inclusion-and-Global-Innovation
About the Summit Area YMCA
The Summit Area YMCA is one of the area’s leading 501(c)3 charitable organizations. Founded in 1886, the Summit Area YMCA has a history steeped in working side-by-side with our neighbors to ensure that everyone, regardless of age, income and background, has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. Each year, we serve more than 10,000 individuals with our free and fee-based programs and services in an area spanning the communities of Berkeley Heights, New Providence, Millburn, Springfield, Short Hills, Summit, Gillette, and Stirling. Through the generosity of our members, donors, and partners, we are able to offer financial assistance for our programs and services to those with demonstrated need. To strengthen your community and provide others with the opportunity to learn, grow, and thrive, make your tax-deductible donation today at www.theSAY.org/give.