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If you hear the sounds of distant drumming or traditional firecrackers, you’re joining an estimated one-fifth of the world bringing in Lunar New Year.
The celebration of Lunar New Year is thought to have originated during the Shang Dynasty more than 1100 years BC as a religious ceremony, and today, the tradition remains a vibrant and festive global celebration beginning when the new moon appears between January 21 and February 20.
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This year, Lunar New Year began on February 5, ushering in the Year of the Pig and launching a year filled with good fortune, wealth and longevity. The celebration was intended as day to pray to the gods for a good harvest, where the best foods were offered to the gods. Myths suggest it’s also a day to ward off monsters and bad luck, like the legendary Nian, who was fought off with firecrackers. In fact, it is now the day where the most fireworks are set off across the world.
This year, Lunar New Year began on February 5, ushering in the Year of the Pig and launching a year filled with good fortune, wealth and longevity.
While San Francisco boasts the largest Chinatown outside of Asia, and Sydney boasts one of the largest Chinese populations overseas; London claims to throw the biggest Lunar New Year outside Asia culminating with fireworks in Trafalgar Square.
If you want to enjoy festivities closer to home that promise to delight, Scottsdale Fashion Square, in partnership with Phoenix Chinese Week, the producer of one of the best-attended Lunar New Year festivals in the country, will celebrate Lunar New Year and cultural diversity February 16 from noon to 3 p.m. in Palm Court in the center of the iconic 1.9-million-square-foot shopping center. Visitors will be treated to a spectacular experience celebrating Asian culture with music, dance, eye-catching costumes and a fashion show with traditional apparel.
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“We love celebrating the inclusion of all communities, and Lunar New Year is a big, vibrant event that kicks off with the traditional Lion Dance and drum performances, which radiates throughout the shopping center. That excitement draws people to Palm Court within the first few minutes to watch the performances, and it’s unforgettable,” says Ann Marie Feldmann of Scottsdale Fashion Square.
The festivities will open and close with performances of the Lion Dance, a traditional Chinese dance that brings good luck and fortune performed by the Tucson Chinese Culture Center Lion Dance Troupe. In addition, Zhigang Chen, Bian Lian (known as “Face-Changing”) will perform an ancient Chinese dramatic art that is part of Sichuan opera. Also, the Dance Fellowship of the Greater Phoenix Chinese Christian Church in Chandler will be performing traditional Chinese folk dances including the Tibetan dance, Mongolian chopstick dance, Dai dance and Peach Blossom dance.
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In addition to festivities, retailers will be passing along good fortunes through traditional red envelopes full of special offers. In Chinese tradition, children receive money in red envelopes or “packets” symbolically transferring fortune from the elders to the youngest generation. Many retailers will have additional ways to celebrate in store and some have special merchandise with the symbolic pig. Guests can take home personalized Chinese calligraphy and have fun at a selfie booth.
In Chinese tradition, new clothes are also believed to bring good luck and a new start to the year, especially red pieces. If you join in the celebration, it looks like you’ll be in the right place then.
Produced in partnership with our friends at Scottsdale Fashion Square. For more information on Lunar New Year, click here.
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