Lunar New Year Preparations Begin Across City

Lunar New Year celebrations begin across the city Saturday. In preparation, NY1's Roger Clark visited Pearl River Mart, where they stock all the staples you'll need for the holiday. 

If it's the Year of the Rooster, you better have plenty of items that look like a rooster. 

"People are looking for decorations. They are looking to make their home festive for the New Year. So you can buy any type of rooster here," said Joanne Kwong, president of Pearl River Mart.

At Pearl River Mart, the beloved Chinese-American Department Store first opened by the Chen family in 1971.

The store closed its doors in SoHo last March due to rising rents, but re-opened in November at Broadway and Walker Street led by Kwong, the Chens' daughter-in-law. 

"We're so excited to be back. We're excited that we didn't miss a year," Kwong said.

Kwong showed me some of the big sellers for the New Year's celebration, which lasts for around two weeks, including red envelopes for cash gifts to children and single adults, and a variety of lucky eats that are part of the festivities. 

"You can also buy snacks and foods like Ginger Candies and Lucky Candies, because sweets represent a sweet life in the new year," Kwong said.

The Lunar New Year is also marked by the bang of firecrackers and colorful lion dances, all to ward off evil spirits.

As for those born in the Year of the Rooster, they are said to be punctual, hard-working, the extroverted jock of the zodiac family. One issue, though. 

"That if it's your year, you might not have the best of luck. But you can possibly fight that by wearing red underwear," Kwong said.

Something new about this location of Pearl River Mart is an art gallery upstairs. This exhibit has a Lunar New Year theme, but with a little twist.

Artist Wiena Lin accessorized a traditional lion's head with broken electronics components and pieces of compact discs. It's called "Future Lion."

"A lot of my work actually explores cultural heritage and how that functions and relates to American culture," Lin said.

You can check out the exhibit and other lunar new year events at the store throughout the holiday celebration. 

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