Todd Smith on February 3, 2016
Chinese New Year celebrations began Monday and for the next couple weeks — it’s a 15-day celebration — a multitude of events celebrating Asian culture and diversity will take place around Squirrel Hill. This is the Year of the Monkey, which is the 9th animal in the 12 animal cycle. People born in the Year of the Monkey include 2004, 1992, 1980, 1968.
The Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, is celebrated annually with the first day falling on the new moon between 21 January and 20 February.
The calendar of another ancient people has a lot in common with the Chinese calendar. The Hebrew calendar, on which Jewish learning and holidays are based, also is what’s called a lunisolar calendar, which is a calendar with the date indicating both the moon phase and the time of the solar year.
Correlating lunisolar calendars with the every day solar-based Western, or civil calendar that is used in virtually all modern societies is an interesting challenge; one that JCC preschoolers begin learning about in the Early Childhood Development Center when they celebrate Jewish holidays and study ECDC’s unique Calendar Wall installation.
Back to the Chinese New Year: The kickoff celebration will be held at the JCC in Squirrel Hill from 1-5 pm this Saturday. Enjoy lion dancers, rhythmic ribbon dancing, singers, martial arts demonstrations and more on the main stage. You can also try your hand at origami, Chinese calligraphy and paper-lantern making. All performances and activities are free. Food will be available for sale from vendors.
There will be events happening nearby over the next weeks at the Carnegie Library. The Squirrel Hill branch has begun decorating the building with beautiful Chinese arrangements and is holding an event February 10 for children and a teen event February 16.
The Chinese New Year Celebration will conclude with a Lunar New Year Parade outdoors on February 21. The parade will start out on Murray x Phillips and finish at Murray x Darlington. Since it is a Sunday, parking is free all over Squirrel Hill, but please consider other ways of getting there as the parade will draw a big crowd and the roads will be busy.
Image photo originally found through Uncover Squirrel Hill