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Manhattan: Chinese New Year of the Monkey

Chinese New Year Parade & Brief NYC Chinatown History

chinatown manhattan nycFebruary 15, 2016 / Chinatown Manhattan NYC / Things To Do Manhattan / Manhattan Buzz NYC.

Ancient Chinese Calendar Based on Chinese Zodiac & Study of Planets

This past week Manhattan celebrated the Chinese New Year of the Monkey. The Monkey is fun-loving, curious, clever and mischievous. Those born this year, or five Chinese calendar cycles ago in 1944, are born under the influence of the Fire element. There are five elements, and each influences a 12 year / Chinese calendar cycle. We are currently in a Chinese calendrical cycle that is influenced by the Fire sign. It is believed the 12 years corresponds to the 11.86 years it takes Jupiter to revolve around the sun.

Chinese Five Elements Influence 12 Years of the Calendar Cycle

Every calendar cycle is influenced by one of the five elements: metal, water, wood, fire and earth. And each of these natural elements signifies something. The five elements are associated with the five planets nearest to earth which are: Mercury [water], Mars [fire], Venus [metal], Saturn [earth] and Jupiter [wood]. The five elements are all natural and have transformative influences on each other. For instance water can extinguish a fire, a fire can be created with wood, and fire can melt metal. If you study these transformations you will see that they are all connected, like nature itself, a part of a whole. Thus an entire cycle encompasses the five elements times each calendrical [or zodiac] sign for a total of 60 years.

Click here for a brief history of NYC Chinatown in Manhattan and the NYC Chinese New Year Parade in Manhattan.

Manhattan: Chinese New Year of the Monkey

Chinese New Year Parade & Brief NYC Chinatown History

February 15, 2016 / Chinatown Manhattan NYC / Things To Do Manhattan / Manhattan Buzz NYC. Continued.

chinatown history nycThe Monkey is the 9th sign of the twelve signs in the Chinese calendar. The Chinese calendar is historically related to the Chinese Zodiac. In addition to the twelve signs of the Chinese Zodiac which provide a characterization of what to expect from those born into each year, the cycles of twelve years are also affected by one of the five elements influencing that cycle of years, as mentioned above. Then, to complete the complexity, there's an overlay of Yin and Yang which signify the odd and even years respectively.

Taoist Concept of Yin Yang Influences Odd & Even Years

In Chinese lore the elements influencing the year in which you are born coupled with the Yin and Yang were believed to have predictive powers regarding your destiny. Yin symbolizes the shady side while Yang symbolizes the sunnyside. Yin and Yang comprise a whole that is constantly in flux because it's a combination of dark and light, sunny and shady, positive and negative forces. The positive and negative forces attract one another, which is one of the universal laws of ancient Taoism. Familiarity with the information above was picked up from a number of sources over the years, and most recently from Personal Tao and Chinese Zodiac.

Firecracker Celebration Sara D. Roosevelt Park

chiinese new year parade manhattanAnd so it was that this past week we saw the firecracker celebration in Sara D. Roosevelt Park on the Lower East Side on Monday the 8th. This was followed by the Chinese New Year Parade on Saturday, February 13th, which began marching through the narrow streets of Chinatown in Manhattan beginning at 1 pm on a very cold [about 20 degrees Farenheit] day.

Manhattan Chinese New Year Parade Route

The Manhattan Chinese New Year Parade route headed south, crossing Canal and heading south and then east, before turning north where Park Row meets Bowery. After another block the parade route juts east again, along Division Street, and then north along Edridge Street. At Hester the parade turns west and a block later heads north along Forsyth Street ending at Sara D. Roosevelt Park on the Lower East Side LES.

Brief History of Chinese in New York City Beginning 1840's

According to Wikipedia one of the first recorded Chinese residents in New York City was Ah Ken in the 1840's. The Chinese began gathering around Ah Ken who reportedly was a successful cigar peddler and eventually landlord. Because of discriminatory practices in the West a number of Chinese traveled east to New York City, likely after helping complete the railroad tracks that linked San Francisco with Iowa and the rest of the eastern part of the United States in 1869.

Chinese Population Grows & U.S. Passes Chinese Exclusion Act

photos chinatown manhattan nyc By 1870 the Chinese population was estimated at 200 and in 1882 the Chinese Exclusion Act was passed limiting the rights of the Chinese who had grown to a population of 2,000 in New York City by then. It wasn't until 1943 that the Chinese Exclusion Act was repealed. Because of this discrimination, only about 2% of the Chinese population in Manhattan was female.

U.S. Repeals Chinese Exclusion Act & Chinatowns in NYC Boros Circa 2016

In the 1900's more Chinese came to New York City and America and spread out into the boroughs, so that today there are about a half million Chinese living in the five boroughs of Manhattan, of which about 40% are living in Queens, 40% in Brooklyn and 10% in Manhattan. Only a few live in the Bronx or on Staten Island. In Manhattan the Chinese continue to remain clustered around Chinatown, just north of City Hall. In Queens the Chinese are primarily clustered in Flushing. And in Brooklyn the Chinese have clustered in the eastern section of Sunset Park in what is now called Brooklyn's Chinatown.

Happy New Year or as they say in Mandarin - Gong Xi Fa Cai or as they say in Cantonese - Gong Hey Fat Choy.

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