The Great Neck Chinese community flocked to the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts on the LIU Post campus in Greenvale on Sunday, Feb. 25, for an authentic Lunar New Year Celebration by the Long Island Chinese American Association (LICAA).
Before the performances began, attendees had the opportunity to purchase traditional Chinese food in a room off of the lobby and learn about area businesses. Then, 18 acts took to the stage, followed by a youth talent show. Hands-on crafts, such as sugar figure painting, dough sculptures, lantern crafting, 3D portrait paper cutting and shadow puppet play, kept little ones happily entertained in the lobby after the show.
Gordon Zhang, a LICAA volunteer, thought that the entire event was quite well done.
“The feedback we got from the audience is that they really enjoyed the show and post-show activities,” said Zhang. “Many people said this event really let them and their family enjoy the authentic festival spirit of the Lunar New Year on Long Island.”
The show opened with the Lion Dance, followed by talented musicians and dancers performing traditional songs and dances, such as Splendor of Sleeves, Sichuan Opera Face Change and acrobatics with foot juggling of umbrellas, along with more modern hip-hop selections and a jazz medley with tunes from around the globe.
LICAA is committed to building a stronger community through leadership, collaborative efforts, multicultural promotion and services. The speakers all expressed their appreciation of the Chinese community and the diversity on Long Island.
Congressman Tom Suozzi talked about the original U.S. motto e pluribus unum, which is Latin for “out of many, one.” He explained, “That is the promise of America. Many different people from different backgrounds unified as one behind the idea of America—all men and women are created equal. We must all work to make the American promise a reality,” he continued. “Whether you have been here for five generations or five years, you are just as American if you embrace the American promise of the worth of every individual.”
Town of North Hempstead Councilwoman Anna M. Kaplan shared a similar sentiment.
“Looking across the room, I see all these faces from all over the world, coming together in our wonderful town making a beautiful tapestry,” said Kaplan. “What makes this country great is all of us sharing each other’s cultures and heritage and realizing, in the end, that we have so much more in common than we have differences.”
As other cultures are exposed to this beautiful tradition, hopefully, more people of other ethnic backgrounds will also begin celebrating Lunar New Year.
“I hope this holiday, with nearly 5,000 years of tradition, will be recognized as a new tradition in the diverse community of Long Island,” said Zhang enthusiastically.