THE YEAR OF THE PIG

Fortune and luck lie ahead as we ring in the Year of the Pig. Millions around the world will be celebrating the start of the Chinese Lunar New Year. We’ll join the celebration with a decidedly New York twist.

For more information on the Museum of Chinese in America and their Lunar New Year celebrations, click here.

Aired on February 5, 2019.

TRANSCRIPT

> TONIGHT, ACROSS THE WORLD, MILLIONS OF PEOPLE ARE GETTING READY TO CELEBRATE THE LUNAR NEW YEAR.

THE YEAR OF THE PIG HAS OFFICIALLY BEGUN AND ONE WHICH COMES WITH HOPE OF WEALTH AND FORTUNE.

THE TRI-STATE AREA IS HOME TO ONE OF THE LARGEST CHINESE-AMERICAN COMMUNITIES IN THE COUNTRY.

THE SPECIAL TIME OF YEAR KICKS OFF TWO WEEKS OF FAMILY GATHERINGS, CULTURAL TRADITIONS AND DELICIOUS MEALS.

JOINING WITH US DETAILS ON THIS YEAR'S CELEBRATION IS THE PRESIDENT OF THE MUSEUM OF CHINESE IN AMERICA LOCATED IN DOWNTOWN MANHATTAN.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR HOSTING US AGAIN.

TELL US ABOUT THE NEW YEAR THAT WILL BE DAWNING UPON US.

IT'S THE YEAR 4,717 IN THE CHINESE CHRONOLOGICAL CALENDAR.

WOW.

THEY'VE BEEN AROUND FOR A WHILE SO THEY KNOW HOW TO THROW A GOOD PARTY.

THAT'S WHAT'S HAPPENING IN NEW YORK CITY AND NOT ONLY THOSE IN NEW YORK CITY BUT THERE ARE OVER 40 MILLION CHINESE IN THE GLOBAL DIASPORA AND THEY'RE LIVING IN OVER 150 COUNTRIES SO YOU'RE SEEING A LOT OF LUNAR NEW YEAR CELEBRATIONS AND NOT JUST BY CHINESE BUT OTHER ASIAN ANCESTRY PEOPLE.

ONE THING I FOUND IS INTERESTING IS THE WAY WE CELEBRATE IN NEW YORK ISN'T INDICATIVE OF EVERYBODY'S EXPERIENCE, PARTICULARLY PEOPLE IN CHINA.

EXACTLY.

NEW YORK IS VERY SPECIAL.

THE EARLIEST IMMIGRANTS FROM CHINA REALLY CAME IN THE LATE 19th CENTURY.

THEY DIME THE U.S. TO BUILD THE RAILROADS AND THIS YEAR IS THE 150th ANNIVERSARY OF THE COMPLETION OF THE TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILROAD BUT THEN IN THE LATE 19th CENTURY WHEN THE RAILROAD WAS COMPLETED THEN CHINESE DID MOVE, TOO.

SO NEW YORK CITY IS THE LARGEST CHINATOWN AND THE MOST DENSELY POPULATED ONE IN DOWNTOWN MANHATTAN THAT STARTED IN THE EARLY 1900s BUT SUBSEQUENTLY AFTER 1965 YOU SAW OTHER COMMUNITIES COME UP, SUNSET PARK, FLUSHING, WHICH IS MY NATIVE HOMETOWN AND MANY OTHERS.

SO IT'S A MERGING OF THESE DIFFERENT CULTURES.

CHINA IS A VAST AND DIVERSE COUNTRY AND THERE ARE MANY PROVINCES THAT CELEBRATE THE LUNAR NEW YEAR DIFFERENTLY.

THAT WAS ONE OF THE THINGS I ALSO IS THAT THIS IS VERY MUCH I BELIEVE A SOUTHERN THING.

THIS ISN'T LIKE -- THIS IS CELEBRATED BIG TIME IN SOUTHERN CHINA BUT NOT NECESSARILY IN THE NORTHERN PROVINCES.

WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?

YOU'RE RIGHT.

WITH SOME CULTURES THAT HAVE BECOME POPULAR IN NEW YORK CITY AND THE UNITED STATES, THE LION DANCE, THE DRAGON DANCE, THE CLANGING OF THE SYMBOLS, THE DRUMS, THAT'S A PREDOMINANTLY SOUTHERN CHINA TRADITION SO WHEN I FIRST SAW THE LION DANCE, WHEN MY PARENTS FIRST SAW THE LION DANCE AND THEY WERE FROM SHANGHAI THEY HAD NEVER SEEN A LION DANCE BEFORE BUT THERE WERE TRADITIONS THEY MAINTAINED.

WE ATE CERTAIN TYPES OF FOODS, GATHERED TOGETHER AS A FAMILY SO THOSE TRADITIONS CARRIED BUT EVERY PROVINCE HAS ITS UNIQUE DISTINCTIVE CELEBRATORY COMPONENTS.

YOU TOUCHED ON ONE OF MY FAVORITE CELEBRATORY COMPONENTS WHICH IS FOOD.

WHAT WAS ON YOUR FAMILY'S TABLE?

A LOT IS AROUND HOME PHONE, WORDS THAT SOUNDS LIKE OTHER WORDS.

WE HAVE RICE CAKE.

AND THE WORD FOR RICE CAKE ALSO SOUNDS FOR THE WORD 'A BETTER NEXT YEAR.'

SO THERE ARE A LOT OF WORDS AROUND THAT IN TERMS OF WHAT WE EAT.

FISH, WE ALWAYS HAVE FISH.

A WHOLE FISH AND THAT'S SOMETHING THAT WE HAVE.

TEN-VEGETABLE DISH WHICH IS AN IDIOM MY ALWAYS SHARES WITH US, 10 ITEM PERFECTION.

SO WE HAVE A LOT OF COLOR ON THE TABLE.

MY MOTHER ALWAYS SAYS LOOK HOW BEAUTIFUL THIS DISH IS.

IT HAS RED AND GREEN.

THAT SOUNDS LIKE OF COURSE YOU WANT TO HAVE THAT FOR A FAMILY GATHERING.

BUT HOW DOES THAT DIFFER FROM WHAT, SAY, THE AVERAGE NEW YORKER WHO MIGHT BE GOING DOWN TO SEE THE PARADE MIGHT PICK UP?

NOW IT'S GREAT BECAUSE AN AVERAGE NEW YORKER CAN GO MANY PLACES TO SEE THE PARADE.

IT USED TO BE PRETTY MUCH A DOWNTOWN CHINATOWN ON CANAL STREET ON MOTT STREET EVENT BUT NOW SO MANY VENT DIFFERENT VIEW YS A LION DANCE.

AND YOU MAY SEE IN THE FRONT OF SHOPS SO SHOP OWNERS WERE SECURE THE LION DANCE TO BRING FORTUNE TO THEIR SHOPS IN THE COMING YEARS SO THEY'LL GIVE THEM A STIPEND FOR THE PERFORMANCE AND HOPE FOR THAT BUT NOW AT THE MUSEUM OF CHINESE IN AMERICA ON FEBRUARY 16 WE'LL HAVE TWO LION DANCING AND THAT'S FOR OUR FAMILY FESTIVAL SO YOU WILL SEE A LOT OF THAT ON THE STREETS AND ACTIVITY ON THE STREETS AND YOU'LL SEE A LOT OF CONFETTI ON THE STREETS.

THERE'S SO MUCH MORE I CAN CONTINUE TALKING TO YOU ABOUT BECAUSE IT SOUNDS NOT ONLY FASCINATING BUT LIKE A GREAT CELEBRATION TO HAVE WHEN WE NEED A NICE PICK ME UP.

THANK YOU FOR JOINING US ON THE PROGRAM.

THANK YOU, I'M GLAD YOU GOT THE MEMO ON THE RED CLOTHING SO HAPPY NEW LEW FAR NEW YEAR TO YOU.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

WNET

© WNET All Rights Reserved.

825 Eighth Avenue

New York, NY 10019