North Hempstead lights the Town Hall red to help residents celebrate the Lunar New Year

Residents of North Hempstead gathered outside Town Hall on Wednesday to celebrate the Lunar New Year with traditional performances and officials lighting the building red to honor the Year of the Tiger.

The Lunar New Year started on February 1. Celebrations can often last up to 15 days, with different activities and events taking place during the celebration. In North Hempstead, where Asian Americans make up 23% of the city’s population, according to 2020 U.S. Census data, attendees were treated to a lion dance performed by the Herricks High School Chinese Club, a performance by the New York Chinese Chorus and calligraphy. station, among other activities.

“It’s very important that the city recognizes and celebrates with the people who make it up,” said supervisor Jennifer DeSena. “It’s a better reminder of our cultural celebrations and the importance of acknowledging our diversity.”

Nearly 100 families, volunteers and local elected officials rushed to the town hall to participate. Manhasset resident Vanessa Tai brought her 4-year-old daughter Ava to see the performances.

“It’s really awesome that the city is doing this, so we were really happy to see this and really excited that this is the first year that we can participate in this,” Tai said. “We really didn’t know what to expect, but it’s definitely a very nice surprise for us.”

Tai said his Lunar New Year celebration usually consists of a traditional Chinese dinner with cuisine that signifies love and prosperity for the new year.

Among the local organizations that partnered with the city for the event were the Chinese American Association of North Hempstead, the West Hempstead-based Chinese Center for Long Island Inc. and the Greater Roslyn Association for Chinese Enrichment.

Betty Leong, co-chair of the Chinese Center for Long Island Inc., was among the volunteers who handed out bottled water and fortune cookies to attendees.

“Lunar New Year is our biggest holiday,” Leong said. “The Chinese Center has members all over Long Island, so we try to get in on town events.”

Councilor Veronica Lurvey, who helped organize the event, spoke about the significance of the Year of the Tiger, which signifies courage and resilience.

“We’ve had to overcome many difficulties over the past two years, but as we look to the new year, I know we will work together to overcome any challenge,” Lurvey said at the event. “It’s our diversity that makes our city a great place to live.”

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