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NYC to welcome ‘Year Of The Monkey’ with Lunar New Year Festival

Fireworks over the Hudson River for the Chinese Lunar New Year on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015. (Credit: CBS2)

CBS New York/AP:

 New York City will be celebrating the Lunar New Year with a five-day festival early next month.

The Year of the Monkey Celebration” runs from Feb. 6 through Feb. 10.

The festival, presented by the China Central Academy of Fine Arts, is hosting a myriad of events, including the “The Fantastic Art China” exhibition at the Javits Center, where traditional and contemporary Chinese artworks will be showcased.

Environmental conservation efforts for monkeys in China also will be highlighted.

A Hudson River fireworks display set to the music of Oscar and Grammy Award winner Tan Dun is scheduled for Feb. 6.

The Empire State Building is also planning a light display for Feb. 6 and Feb. 8. And the New York Philharmonic’s 5th Annual Chinese New Year Concert will be held at Lincoln Center on Feb. 9.

Last June, Mayor Bill de Blasio made the Lunar New Year an official public school holiday. An estimated 15 percent of New York City school children celebrate the Lunar New Year.

ABC’s “Fresh Off the Boat” and Panda Express, America’s favorite Chinese restaurant, are joining together to celebrate Chinese New Year

Broadway World:

ABC‘s “Fresh Off the Boat” and Panda Express, America’s favorite Chinese restaurant, are joining together to celebrate Chinese New Year and encourage viewers and guests alike to join in on the celebration. Panda Express restaurants across the country will display special branded “Fresh Off the Boat” Chinese New Year Posters and table tents featuring the Huangs.

To see how the Huang family celebrates Chinese New Year, viewers can watch “Fresh Off the Boat” when it returns with an all-new episode on Tuesday, February 2 (8:00-8:30 p.m. EST).

Episode:
“Year of the Rat” – The Huangs are getting everything in order to celebrate Chinese New Year with their family in Washington, D.C. But a mix-up with their plane tickets forces them to spend the holiday in Orlando. Scrambling to find other Asians to celebrate with, they stumble upon the Asian-American Association of Orlando, which is hosting a less than authentic interpretation of a Chinese New Year celebration.

chinese-learning-kit

To encourage learning about the history and traditions surrounding Chinese New Year and share ideas to help consumers join the celebration, Panda Express created a special website, CelebrateCNY.com.

The site features an animated video about the 15-day festival, activities for kids and special classroom curriculum for teachers. Other site features include an app that helps visitors send New Year’s greetings through virtual red envelopes, a guide to find your Chinese zodiac sign and information on special in-store offers for February 8, the first day of Chinese New Year.

More than six million students have learned about Chinese New Year through Panda’s education materials since 2007.

Nike Air Force 1 “Year of the Monkey” Customs by Zhijun Wang

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Nike may have just released its own pair of Quickstrike Air Force 1s commemorating the Chinese New Year, but reputed Chinese designer Zhijun Wang has revealed a pair of custom Forces dedicated to the Year of the Monkey that rivals the many of the Swoosh’s own in-house designs.

The customized lows are made up of a beige leather upper combined with leather accents, maroon livery and geometric motifs that reference the Chinese zodiac.

Click here to look back at Wang’s previous customs dedicated to the Year of the Horse.

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Taiwanese-American artist James Jean and Beats by Dre bring in the Chinese New Year

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Beats by Dre looks to bring in February’s Chinese New Year with its latest collaborative drop. Taiwanese-American visual artist James Jean was called upon to celebrate the Year of the Monkey with the Solo² Wireless. Its artistry is inspired by the popular proverb in “Hear no evil, See no evil, Speak no evil.”

Additionally James Jean’s work with Beats by Dre combines street and sophistication upon its upcoming product. You can expect the Beats by Dre x James Jean Solo² to release on December 30.

A look inside Eddie Huang’s Chinese New Year feast, topped off with Hennessy Milk Tea

Eddie Huang’s Chinese New Year menu was complemented by an endless amount of Hennessy’s Red Ram cocktail. 

The Daily Meal: 

Chinese New Year… If you’ve never celebrated before, here’s a look at one Chinese chef’s interpretation.

Last week, a few days in advance of the real start of the Year of the Goat, Baohaus chef Eddie Huang hosted a New Year’s celebration in partnership with Hennessy, a label which will be especially familiar to anyone who’s attended his or her share of Chinese weddings.

Huang’s menu for the evening, a six-course affair put together in the tiny kitchen of No. 7 Restaurant in Brooklyn, featured lion’s head chicken soup, Hainan lobster salad, chili miso-braised fish, and Szechuan roasted black garlic chicken. As an interlude, guests were treated to a traditional lion’s head dance typically reserved for boisterous Chinatown streets around New Year’s.

The evening’s sponsor made sure that every glass was full of Red Ram, a cocktail created especially for the evening. Eddie, who has partnered with Hennessy in the past, even created a Hennessy Privilege Milk Tea (paired with egg tarts from Taipan Bakery in Chinatown) that actually made this author appreciate milk tea (black tea sweetened with condensed milk).

When we sat down with Eddie to talk about his love for the holiday, he brought over a full plate of roasted chicken and recalled his early role in the kitchen.

My mom worked, so she would call me on the way home, and I would get things ready so that when she got home, she could just cook. I was always my mom’s prep cook.”

Quickly, that role expanded to one of household handyman.

My mom bought a pressure washer and had me pressure wash the house. She would see other people get services, like this guy pressure washing or this guy cleaning the pool, and she would be like, ‘What chemicals do you use? Where do you buy the machines?’ and she would be like, ‘Guess what? You’re now pressure washing the house and cleaning the pool.’

There are lots of things you wouldn’t think kids can do until parents force them to, I offer.

Mulan joined the army,” Eddie says in agreement.

On Fresh Off the Boat, the ABC sitcom inspired by Huang’s memoir of the same name, we’ve yet to see a young Eddie face these challenges. The chef has made it clear that the resemblance between the show and its source material continues to diverge. Will there be, for instance, an episode of the show that features this holiday — the most important one of the Chinese calendar?

I don’t know if any of this will be on the sitcom because they never do any of the real s–t on that show, but on Vice we’re gonna do it. You’re on Vice right now.”

And, lastly, who in Huang’s family is known for being the most generous giver of the all-important red envelope?

Grandparents.”

Chinese billionaire gifts over $1 million to his hometown’s elderly for Chinese New Year

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Next Shark: (By Augustine Reyes Chan)

Many Chinese all over the world receive red envelopes full of cash during Chinese New Year. The money is typically given by the married to children and the unmarried and is supposed to bestow good fortune on those who receive it, as our site explains. Most get around over $100 or more each year. But what if you opened a red envelope and found that you received 10,000 yuan ($1,600) out of a whopping 6.5 million yuan (over $1 million) total?

That’s what Chinese billionaire Liu Qiangdong gave out for the Spring Festival in the Jiangsu Province in Suqian City this past week. As China Smack reported, Liu Qiangdong gave out the 6.5 million yuan in red envelopes to around 650 elderly people over 60 years old in his village birthplace.

Liu Qiangdong, who is most famous for the Chinese e-commerce site JD.com, China’s second largest online mall, said:

“I grew up here, and without the care and concern of the elders of my hometown, I would not have been able to leave this village, nor would I be the person I am today.”

Liu gave the money to express good will to the elderly and so that they would have a happy new year. He also used the occasion to introduce Zhang Zetian as his “wife,”  although it’s been reported that they just got engaged. The two make up a formidable power couple; Zhang is an internet meme sensation nicknamed Milk Tea Girl, after a photo of her holding up a cup of milk tea went viral. Because of this, she is now a budding film star who just received her first role in a movie last year. They’re also infamous for their age gap; Liu is 19 years older than 21-year-old Zhang.

 

Hong Kong leader calls on citizens to be more like sheep, ‘Mild and Gentle Animals’

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Hong Kong’s chief executive, his highness CY Leung, delivered a Chinese New Year greeting exactly as you would expect him to.

Next Shark:

To ring in the Year of the Sheep, Leung, known for his distrust of poor people, wants the citizens of Hong Kong to be like sheep, “mild and gentle animals” that aren’t known for holding pro-democracy protests. His statement was released in a video he filmed from the Government House (read imperial palace) and which featured his wife, Regina Leung Tong Ching-yee, and a group of smiling children who reportedly aren’t paid actors, because of course he wouldn’t pay them.

“Another Chinese New Year has arrived. It is time to bid farewell to the Year of the Horse and welcome the Year of the Sheep. The 12 Chinese zodiac animals represent 12 character types. Sheep are widely seen to be mild and gentle animals living peacefully in groups.

Last year was no easy ride for Hong Kong. Our society was rife with differences and conflicts. In the coming year, I hope that all people in Hong Kong will take inspiration from the sheep’s character and pull together in an accommodating manner to work for Hong Kong’s future.

At the beginning of the Year of the Sheep, we wish every one of you good health, great happiness and a harmonious family life.”

According to Shanghaiist, Hong Kong Democratic Party Chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing told SCMP that, while in his mind, he was probably referring to the virtues of the sheep, like loyalty and compassion, Leung has been anything but.

“[But] then he himself is doing exactly the opposite to provoke so much confrontation and he is tearing the society apart. It’s very contradictory and duplicitous.”

It wouldn’t be surprising to know then that most people in Hong Kong consider him more of a wolf. Add the fact that China’s leading linguist actually said it’s the Year of the Goat, not the Sheep, and CY Leung is just making promotional videos full of wishful thinking.

CY Leung’s daughter, make-believe, aspiring model Chai Yan, has not yet released her annual thank you statement to the tax-paying sheep of Hong Kong.

Free egg rolls at Panda Express for Chinese New Year

custom-FCCB-Free-Gold-BarFoodBeast:

Who: Panda Express

What: One free chicken egg roll. Must present printed-out coupon or show coupon through mobile device

When: Thursday, February 19

Where: All participating Panda Express stores

Why: In celebration of Chinese New Year

 

Why do people get cash stuffed into red envelopes during Chinese New Year?

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Next Shark: 

Red envelopes have been a staple of Chinese New Year for as long as anyone can remember. No matter whether you celebrate the holiday or not, you’ve probably wondered why your Asian friends receive red envelopes filled with cash every year. Heck, many recipients of red envelopes don’t know why either.

Origins

Unfortunately, there is no one consensus on where the red envelopes came from. One popular story dates back to the Qing Dynasty, where the elderly would thread coins with a red string. This money was called yāsuì qián, meaning “money warding off evil spirits,” and was believed to protect elder people from sickness and death. As the printing press became more common, the yāsuì qián was replaced with red envelopes.

Another legend tells of a village where a demon would terrorize children at night. It was believed that the demon would touch the children’s heads while they were asleep, causing serious illness or death. From there, a theory emerged that when they prayed, God would send eight fairies to protect the child. The fairies would disguise themselves as eight coins and hide under the child’s pillow. When the demon would get close, the coins would began to shine very bright, blinding the demon. Word began to spread and the villagers started giving out red envelopes filled with coins to each other to put under their pillows at night. As time passed, red envelopes became a way to bring good luck and prosperity to the receiver.

How much do you get?

The amount of money depends on the occasion, but the amount typically ends with an even digit, as odd numbers are traditionally associated with funerals. Additionally, it is believed that money should never be given in fours, nor should the number “4” appear in the amount (i.e: 400, 444, 4004), as the chinese word for “four” sounds similar to the word “death.”

Who gets them?

During Chinese New Year, red envelopes are typically given by the married to children and the unmarried. The red symbolizes good luck and the money wishes the recipient good fortune for times to come. The red envelopes are also used to fend off bad spirits. It’s not uncommon for red envelopes to be given during birthdays and other special occasions as well.

Chinese weddings are also occasions when red envelopes come into play. The amount given is supposed to cover the cost of the attendees and as a way to wish the newlyweds good luck. While red envelopes shouldn’t be opened in front of the giver, it’s different during weddings. During Chinese weddings, there is a table at the front of the wedding reception where guests can drop off red envelopes as gifts and sign their names on a large scroll. The envelopes are then immediately opened, counted and then recorded to show how much each guest gave. Why? It’s mainly to bookkeep and to make sure the money matches with what the guests brought at the end of the night. Another reasons is that when single guests finally get married, the bride and groom are expected to give the guest more money than what they received at their own wedding.

At work, it’s a tradition that Chinese companies give away red envelopes to their employees on the eve of Chinese New Year. Alibaba has participated in the tradition before, however, according to Fortune, CEO Jack Ma recently announced that they will not give away red envelopes this year due to mediocre performance.

Other Etiquette

You’re also supposed to avoid putting coins in the envelopes, which makes it difficult for people to gauge the amount before opening. Also it’s tradition to put crisp, new bills inside, which explains why my grandma always went to the bank to switch old bills with new ones every year.

So, there you have it… Happy Chinese New Year!

Bloomingdale’s apologizes for Lunar New Year display


Angry Asian Man: 

The other day I posted a photo of some mannequins spotted at the Bloomingdale’s at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa. In celebration of the Lunar New Year, they were decked out in some questionable headwear.

Many of you were not cool with this display, and were quick to contact the folks at Bloomingdale’s to let them know how you felt. The hats were reportedly removed from the display immediately.

In fact, I received this message from the store’s public relations representatives, with an apology:

Dear sir –

I am reaching out on behalf of Bloomingdale’s in response to your recent post regarding an in-store display in our South Coast Plaza store. We’d like to thank you for bringing the issue to our attention and let you know the visual display was immediately removed. It has been down since the day of your post. The use of hats was in no way intended to be disrespectful or insensitive to the Asian culture and we deeply apologize that it was portrayed as such. We sincerely hope you will accept our apology as we have nothing but the upmost respect for the Asian community.

If you feel so inclined to update your readers on our actions that would be much appreciated.

Sincerely,
Bloomingdale’s Public Relations