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BY TERESE LOEB KREUZER | There are 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac, each with its own attributes and each assigned to a year. This year, 2013 (or 4711 in the Chinese lunar calendar) is the Year of the Snake.
This is counted as a lucky year for those born in previous years of the Snake — count back every 12 years or so. People born in the Year of the Snake are said to be intelligent, charming, elegant and good at making and saving money.
The new lunar year officially begins on Feb. 10, but celebrants at Pace University got a head start on Feb. 3 with instrumental music, dance, opera and martial arts. The event was sponsored by Pace’s Confucius Institute, New York City Council and the New York Chinese Opera Society.
Some of the performers were young Asian-Americans whose parents want them to learn traditional art forms. Others were widely recognized as masters here and in China.
Those who missed the Pace University celebration, or who want to enjoy more Chinese lunar festivities, can watch the Chinese Lunar New Year Parade on Sunday, Feb. 17. It starts at 1 p.m. in Little Italy and goes through the main streets of Manhattan’s Lower Chinatown.
In addition to the parade with its colorful floats and antique cars, there will be a wide range of free cultural activities. The Chinatown Lunar New Year Cultural Festival takes place in Sara Roosevelt Park, with a different zodiac theme each year. Events at past cultural festivals have included a dog parade, pig race and live music performances. For more information, a cultural festival booth will be located in the park at Canal and Forsyth Streets.
The Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade and Festival celebrate the traditions and cultures of all Asian countries including China, Korea and Japan. Last year, around 500,000 people attended the festivities.