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LUNAR NEW YEAR
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Letter from the Publisher
Welcome to Great Neck Magazine By Angela Susan Anton
This retired art teacher shares his talent with the community By Rachel Hirschheimer
With so many delicious options, it’s difﬁcult selecting just one By Alexandra Civorelli
Our three oldest temples come together to present Der Yiddisher Mikado By Jennifer Marks
Great Neck’s Got Style
Find the latest fall fashion on Middle Neck Road By Nicole Lockwood
Lunar New Year Celebrations
Great Neck Chinese Association members share cherished memories and traditions Compiled by Sheri ArbitalJacoby, Mimi Hu and Carey Ye
Cover photo: Marvin Anchin with his creation Honey the Giraffe, which he donated in honor of the 200th Anniversary of the Great Neck Public Schools
Colbeh offers authentic kosher Persian cuisine.
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Great Neck continues to be a very special community that Anton Media Group has taken enormous pride in covering through our weekly newspaper, the Great Neck Record, since 1908—and through our website, www.greatneckrecord.com. Culture has always been a huge cornerstone of the town’s heritage, starting with the culinary adventures you can delight in. Alexandra Civorelli writes about the many local dining options, including Colbeh (kosher Persian), Moonstone (modern Asian), Lola (gourmet Mediterranean) and Union Prime (steak and sushi). Style is also something you’ll find in abundance throughout Great Neck. Nicole Lockwood highlights some of the retailers whose wares reflect a high sense of fashion and include Haus of Tova, Lonny’s Wardrobe, Jildor Shoes and Steven Dann. One of the more vibrant aspects of our community is how much more diverse it’s become in recent years. So much so that, this year, the Great Neck school district was the first on Long Island to add Lunar New Year, one of the most important celebrations for the Asian community, as an official holiday. Sheri ArbitalJacoby, Mimi Hu and Carey Ye reached out to readers to learn about the family traditions that make the holiday special and which ones they’re sharing with their own children to keep these customs going. Equally impressive is the story Jennifer Marks wrote about how three of Great Neck’s oldest temples—Temple Beth-El of Great Neck, the Men’s Club from the Great Neck Synagogue and Temple Israel of Great Neck—are coming together to present Der Yiddisher Mikado. Topping it all off is Rachel Hirschheimer’s cover story on Marvin Anchin, a retired art teacher who has been making wondrous creations for the Great Neck South senior party ever since his daughter graduated in 2000. His creative touch has resulted in him making figures that include an enormous Statue of Liberty replica along with a life-size version of a giraffe (the unofficial mascot for the village) and pop-culture icons ranging from Miss Piggy and Marge Simpson to characters from The Wizard of Oz. As you can see, there’s plenty to dive into as we scratch the surface of what makes our community so wonderful.
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Great Neck MAGAZI NE An Anton Media Group Publication KARL V. ANTON, JR. Publisher, 1984-2000
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Alexandra Civorelli, Dave Gil de Rubio, Rachel Hirschheimer, Mimi Hu, Nicole Lockwood, Jennifer Marks, Carey Ye
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Out By Alexandra Civorelli
With so many delicious options, it’s difficult selecting just one
ocated on the Gold Coast of Long Island, Great Neck is known for its growing diverse population and fine dining. This marriage of culture and cuisine makes for a variety of fabulous restaurants that offer food from Asian fusion to Mediterranean—and everything in between. 10
GREAT NECK MAGAZINE
Colbeh Billed as an authentic Persian journey from the moment guests step through the doors, Colbeh is a kosher restaurant with Mediterranean cuisine and atmosphere, enhanced by Persian music and a warm, hospitable staff that treats diners like old friends. Colbeh offers cold and hot appetizers, including Moroccan Cigars made from ground potatoes or vegetables rolled in pastry dough, as well as numerous entrées served over basmati rice or fresh dill and lima bean rice, along with grilled plum tomatoes and vegetables. Main dishes include the special Colbeh King Combo, the newest combination of kebab barg (cubed prime beef), kebab joujeh (chicken) and white koobideh (ground beef), all delicately seasoned and grilled. Stews and fish are also available. To end the meal, traditional desserts from a Persian bakery are served. Colbeh is known for hosting parties, both in its beautiful catering room or in your home. • 75 N. Station Plaza • www.colbeh.com • 516-466-8181
AVA I L A B L E AT
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12 Union Prime Steak and Sushi A modern steakhouse that offers both casual cocktails at the bar and an elegant fine-dining experience, Union Prime Steak and Sushi is perfect for going out with friends, having a nice family dinner or talking business over lunch. The menu not only offers 35-day prime dry-aged steaks, which include hand-selected USDA porterhouse, filet mignon, bone-in rib and sirloin, but also traditional and specialty sushi rolls, like the Union roll with spicy lobster, spicy crab, shrimp tempura, seaweed salad, eel sauce and spicy mayo, as well as sashimi, salads, chicken and seafood entrées, and a raw bar. For dessert, homemade treats like a warm cinnamon bun and butterscotch crème brûlée are available, along with cordials, ports and dessert wines. A wine director can also help you pair your meal with the perfect wine, sake or unique cocktail. The eatery offers specials, such as Surf & Turf Sundays, Wine Down Fridays, Thursday Ladies Night—with $9 infused vodka cocktails and a live DJ—and a three-course prix fixe Early Dinner for $39. Union caters private events with the option of reserving the banquet room or the whole restaurant. • 661 Northern Boulevard • www.unionprimesteak.com • 516-487-9200
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13 Lola With award-winning chefs and gourmet Mediterranean cuisine, Lola feels like dinner in Manhattan but much closer to home. The restaurant is open for dinner every day and brunch on Sundays. The dinner menu offers made-to-order hummus, small plates that include salads and dishes like cast-iron baked feta and charred octopus, and portions for the table that are served with warm pita and a few sides. Entrées include a mixed grill, which is a combination of duck tenderloin, spiced chicken, merguez sausage and vegetables, meant to be shared by two or more people, and each main course can have seared foie gras added to it. Desserts include a s’mores tart and halva parfait. After-dinner drinks are just as sweet with options like an espresso martini or mint chocolate chip, comprised of crème de menthe, crème de cacao, vanilla vodka and cream. For Sunday brunch, diners can choose American or Mediterranean fare. The American options include dishes like truffled eggs and duck benedict, while the Mediterranean side offers schnitzel and fattoush salad. • 113A Middle Neck Road • www. restaurantlola.com • 516-466-5666
Moonstone Modern Asian Cuisine & Bar Devoted to providing tasty and visually stunning Asian-fusion fare, Moonstone offers an enormous variety on its menus and an extensive selection of wine, liquor and cocktails in its bar and lounge areas. Soups, salads, a raw bar, live shellfish, dim sum, hot and cold appetizers, and from the grill, land, sky, sea and garden options are available, as are entrées from the special chef’s table, like stir-fried jumbo prawn Szechuan. Dishes are identified as vegetarian, spicy and gluten free, like the Moonstone lettuce wrap appetizer with pistachios and an option of chicken, shrimp, beef or vegetarian. Desserts include fried ice cream tempura with raspberry sauce and crispy banana spring rolls. Moonstone offers a take-out menu, as well as individual and familystyle menus for parties at the restaurant. Happy hour with half-price drinks and appetizer, dim sum and sushi specials are offered, too. • 14 Northern Boulevard • www.moonstoneny.com • 516-500-1000
UPCOMING EVENTS JUDY COLLINS
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GOT STYLE Find the latest fall fashion on Middle Neck Road By Nicole Lockwood
he most fashion-forward season of the year is here, and Great Neck retailers are doing their part to make for a well-dressed community. This fall, marked by rich colors, textured fabrics, vibrant metallics and daring trends, is what local purveyors of style have been waiting for. Check out what Great Neck Plaza favorites such as Lonnyâ€™s Wardrobe, Steven Dann, Haus of Tova and Jildor Shoes have to offer.
Cleobella Ronia Kimono in White and Black, $119, Haus of Tova Larettamia Flat Chic Tote, $700, Steven Dann
Valentino Rockstud Leather Ankle Boots, $1,375, Steven Dann
Glamorous Uk Badge Bomber Jacket in Black, $105, Haus of Tova
The Perfext Suede Moto Jacket in Taupe, $1,725, Steven Dann
Steve Madden Edit Velvet Boot in Purple, Taupe and Navy, $99, Jildor
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Fall 2015 was the year of vibrant colors but, this time around, get ready to explore the world of gray, brown, beige, taupe and sand. This neutral palette serves as the perfect base for pops of other muted colors. Add dimension to an outfit with merlot red, olive green or burnt orange to create a look as warm and beautiful as the autumn leaves. Color isn’t the only thing shaking up the runways. Designers are getting creative with the use of velvet, whether it be for tops, dresses, pants or shoes. Velvet boots are a favorite this season, especially as booties with a small one-to-three inch heel. Steve Madden has cornered the market when it comes to this style of must-have booties, available in colors such as navy, taupe and purple. As always, suede, leather and faux fur accents remain classic fall staples, so break out some of your favorites from last year. Jeffrey Campbell has also released a line of suede over-the-knee boots, which are all the rage paired with mini skirts or skin-tight leggings. An extensive selection of the latest styles can be found right in the neighborhood at Jildor Shoes at 42 Middle Neck Road. And, everyone knows no autumn is complete without a go-to leather jacket. Get funky with fringe. Loose ends and long fringes are resurfacing yet again, proving that
Bobi Boyfriend Pocket Tee, $40, Lonny’s Wardrobe
Jeffrey Campbell Cinega Suede Over-the-Knee Boot in Wine, Mocha and Black, $190, Jildor
Vince Warner Limestone Leather Sneaker, $225, Jildor
this is more than just a fad. The fun movement of fringe bags, sweaters and shirts is sure to turn heads and make you feel like you’re doing your best catwalk. What would any great outfit be without some metallics? Leave your chunky statement pieces behind and opt for sleek accessories like the ones found at Haus of Tova at 73 Middle Neck Road. Though smaller and slimmer necklaces, bracelets and rings are the current trend, less is
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Rock N Rose Evil Eye Sacred Heart Short Necklace, $34, Haus of Tova Cadet Crew Sweater with Shoulder Zipper Detail, $84, Haus of Tova
Steve Madden Black Leather Sneaker, $99, Jildor
Chibi Jewels Elephant Cuff Bracelet, $70, Haus of Tova
La-Bete Leather Moto Jacket with Tan Fur Collar, $1,155, Haus of Tova
not necessarily more. Stacking and layering are as prominent as ever, bringing a little sparkle to your neckline, wrists and fingers. Studded pieces also serve as a simple substitute for jewelry. Bags and shoes with lines of studs bring just the right edginess to any outfit. Valentino has been on the mark with studded heels and totes, which are available at Steven Dann at 81 Middle Neck Road. Who says fashion can’t be comfortable? Look fabulous and feel fantastic sporting oversized
tees with jeans and a flannel from Lonny’s Wardrobe at 57 Middle Neck Road. Get creative and opt for men’s clothing like the sweaters from Haus of Tova from time to time. It’s just as stylish, but with a more relaxed fit. Finish your look with a bomber jacket and your favorite sneakers. The staff at Jildor says slip-on sneakers are on the rise this season, especially ones with a platform that make you feel tall and lean. Maximum style, minimum effort.
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Creating Masterpieces This retired art teacher shares his talent with the community By Rachel Hirschheimer
very year, Great Neck South High School hosts a senior party for the graduating class. The elaborate evening offers music, dancing and food for the students to enjoy before going off and starting a new chapter in their lives. Each year holds a different twist, and retired Lynbrook art teacher and Great Neck resident Marvin Anchin has been creating massive themed sculptures for the event since 2000.
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Marvin Anchin is a creator, artist, designer and inventor. He uses his own papier–mâché technique to make these wild, out-of-the-box creations—and parents, teachers, faculty and the community look forward to them. Each year, the sculptures are made in a historic landmark building called the Wiles House, which existed during George Washington’s time. The many rooms in this enormous home are utilized for senior events as well. Anchin didn’t always know that he wanted to become an art teacher. Ever since he was a young boy, his mother told him that she knew he was skilled at sculpting. “My mom said I used to take things like peanuts and stick toothpicks in them and make sculptures out of them when I was a little kid,” says Anchin. “It was never-ending.” Even after college, Anchin was determined that he would become a famous artist. But, his mother steered him in another direction that he says saved his life. “Right before I got my master’s degree in art education, I said I wanted to be a famous artist in 10 years. My mom laughed and said, ‘You might want a career and a backup just in case,’” says Anchin. “I finally got my master’s in Art Education K–12 and was certified.”
Marvin Anchin has brought the Great Neck South senior party themes to life with his breathtaking creations of characters from The Wizard of Oz, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory and Men in Black. Now that he’s retired, he has time for his own art, too.
GREAT NECK MAGAZINE
Anchin would like to donate the Statue of Liberty to a company, educational institution, town park, facility or even the military. Tell us why your group deserves it. Anchin was honored for donating Honey the Giraffe
Look at all of the work that went into constructing this 23-foot tall Statue of Liberty replica:
The skeletal frame was drawn and cut out.
This passionate teacher saw the artist in each student. He believed that everyone was capable of doing great things. “My own belief is that every kid that I taught should walk away with great self-respect and a good feeling about themselves,” says Anchin. “Math and science might be hard for somebody, and then I’d get them and it was like wow, they did something great today.” Art can be taught to young children in many different ways. Anchin educated his students using the same skills that Leonardo da Vinci or Rembrandt used in their work and which they, in turn, taught their students. “I did not teach ‘arts and crafts.’ I taught the real art,” says Anchin. “They learned to draw, to paint, to sculpt. I designed projects for my middle-school and high-school students in order to incorporate the skills they could use to become real fine artists. Just watching what they would produce was great.” For Anchin, working with the Great Neck South community doesn’t feel like work to him at all. It is his passion. His daughters attended Great Neck South High School, which is how he began helping with the senior parties. When his older daughter was a senior in 2000, the parents who were organizing the party knew he was an artist and asked for his assistance. The rest is history. An engineer and carpenters made sure the massive structure was safe.
Anchin taught parents how to papier–mâché, so they could help.
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Every senior party has a different theme selected by parents, which means a new sculpture for Anchin. He has created a life-size dinosaur, characters from The Wizard of Oz, Men in Black and Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, animals, a jumping tiger—even a full-size elephant. “Sometimes I have created the piece, and then they use that as the theme,” says Anchin. “I want them to feel the process. The parents really love it. So the inspiration is the theme. It’s such fun.” This year, to go along with the Governors Ball theme, Anchin created a Statue of Liberty that was made from thousand-foot rolls of tape from Costco and endless amounts of tin foil. Many people helped with this creation because the structure was so large. An engineer, two carpenters and a construction expert were all present to make sure that the 23-foot upright Statue of Liberty arm would be structurally sound and stable. He even used his teaching skills so the parents could help with the papier–mâché. But Anchin is looking to give even more this year. He would like to donate the Statue of Liberty to a company, educational institution, town park, facility or even the military. If you are interested in receiving this masterpiece, please submit a note to firstname.lastname@example.org, explaining why your organization deserves this sculpture. Anchin’s creation could enlighten your world! Volunteers assisted with the painting and ﬁnal details.
Once the structure was complete, it was transported and reassembled.
Anchin’s sculptures are incredibly realistic. View more of his work at www.marvinanchin.com.
The Statue of Liberty was the centerpiece of the Governors Ball–themed party.
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Joining Forces Our three oldest temples come together to present Der Yiddisher Mikado
GREAT NECK MAGAZINE
hen the Gilbert & Sullivan Yiddish Light Opera Company takes the stage at Temple Beth-El of Great Neck on November 6 to perform a production of Der Yiddisher Mikado, not only will the cast come together to delight the audience with its unique spin on the classic comedic opera The Mikado, but the show will mark the first time the three oldest temples in Great Neck have joined forces to present such a performance to the public. The historic collaboration between Temple Beth-El, the Great Neck Synagogue Men’s Club and Temple Israel of Great Neck started as an idea by Jodi Engel, an administrative assistant and assistant to the associate rabbi at Temple Israel. After reading an article about the opera company, Engel realized that bringing the hilarious production in English and Yiddish to Temple Israel might be a good idea for a fundraiser. When a temple member contacted her with similar thoughts, she was convinced. Engel brought up her proposal during a meeting with Executive Director Leon Silverberg, and he agreed. Because the performance would be in Yiddish, which Silverberg describes as the “universal Jewish language,” both he and Engel felt that the production’s appeal would stretch farther than just their own congregation. With that in mind, Engel reached out to former colleague Stuart Botwinick, now the executive director at Temple Beth-El, and Hilly Milun, president of the Great Neck Synagogue Men’s Club, to see if there would be interest for a joint venture between the synagogues. Milun knew right away that the performance would attract his congregation, recalling that his synagogue used to send “busloads” of congregants into the city to see Yiddish theater in the past. Botwinick also expressed his enthusiasm for the chance to unite the temples— and the local Jewish community. “Even though we recognize the differences between our congregations,” says Botwinick, “Judaism connects us all.”
Photos by Sheri ArbitalJacoby
By Jennifer Marks
LAFFEY SUCCESS Noteworthy Sales BY GREAT NECK, LAFFEY
January 2016 - September 2016 Highest Sale in Lake Success 30 West Woods - Sold $3,145,000 Highest Sale in Saddle Rock 130 Gristmill Lane - Sold $2,350,000 Highest Sale in Harbor Hills 25 Hawthorne Lane - Sold $1,550,000 Highest Sale in Kings Point 18 Sinclair Drive - Sold $8,550,000 Highest Co-Op Sale in Great Neck 1 Kensington Gate #PH26 - Sold $900,000 Top 3 of the Top 5 Sales in Kings Point 18 Sinclair Drive - Sold $8,550,000 449 East Shore Road - Sold $5,000,000 21 Cricket Lane - Sold $3,500,000
I t ’s Yo u r M o v e #TEAMLaffey ! DIANE LEYDEN
Licensed RE Associate Broker Branch Manager Great Neck Photos by Sheri ArbitalJacoby
200 Middle Neck Road - Great Neck, NY 11021 516-482-1111 • #TEAMLaﬀey All information furnished regarding property for sale, rental or financing is from sources deemed reliable. No representation is made as to the accuracy thereof and it is submitted subject to errors, omissions, change of price, rental, commission or other conditions, prior sale, lease or financing or withdrawal without notice. If your home is currently listed with another broker this is not a solicitation of that listing.
*Information on file with MLS LI for dates 1/1/2016 through 9/26/2016. Closed residential home and co-op sales.
The cast of Der Yiddisher Mikado recently delighted the audience at Temple Emanuel of East Meadow.
The differences in observances among the three temples, which are all located on Old Mill Road in Great Neck, have been what has prevented them from presenting events of this caliber in the past. Temple Beth-El, the oldest temple in Great Neck, which opened its doors in 1928, is a Reform temple. Great Neck Synagogue is home to the first Orthodox synagogue in the area and Temple Israel, which has the largest congregation of the three, is Conservative. Before their partnership to bring Der Yiddisher Mikado to Great Neck, the sole event that has brought the three congregations together has been the annual Rabbinic Dialogue. The event, which is hosted by the men’s clubs of the trio of temples and held at each shul on a rotating basis, offers each of
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the synagogues’ rabbis a forum to discuss a wide range of topics in front of an audience and answer questions from the attendees. While the upcoming production might not be as interactive as the forum, what the Gilbert & Sullivan Yiddish Light Opera Company will achieve on the stage promises to be a unique and entertaining experience for all who come to see the performance. The company has been staging its niche productions of Gilbert & Sullivan staples, also including Pirates of Penzance (Di Yam Gazlonim) and H.M.S. Pinafore (Der Yiddisher Pinafore), since the 1980s. All performances include the well-known characters singing and speaking in both Yiddish and English, and feature beautiful costumes and bright, colorful sets. “Gilbert & Sullivan Yiddish Light Opera Company’s Yiddish satire and ‘Jewish’ humor preserve the lovely music and spirit of Gilbert and Sullivan,” the company’s website explains. “Woven into the original Gilbert and Sullivan plots are Jewish experiences and idioms, adding another dimension to the existing humor and wit. Audiences don’t have to know Yiddish to enjoy Yiddish Gilbert and Sullivan.”
The opera company produces its own original cassettes and CDs of the performances and has traveled across the globe putting on shows for eager audiences in New England and Miami to Toronto and Winnipeg, Canada, and even in London, England. Now, on the first Sunday in November, they will add Great Neck to the list. Even though the three temples might not share the same level of observance, Temple Beth-El, the Great Neck Synagogue Men’s Club and Temple Israel realize that it no longer has to inhibit their congregations from coming together for more shared experiences. “There is a lot more that unites us than divides us,” said Botwinick. “We’re all just one big Jewish community.” The production of Der Yiddisher Mikado is open to the public and will begin at 2 p.m. on Sunday, November 6, at Temple Beth-El of Great Neck at 5 Old Mill Road. To learn more or to purchase tickets, Temple Beth-El congregants can contact Debbie Elkashash at delkashash@tbegreatneck .org or 516-487-0900, Great Neck Synagogue congregants can contact Hilly Milun at firstname.lastname@example.org or 516-487-6100 and Temple Israel of Great Neck congregants and members of the community can contact Jodi Engel at email@example.com or 516-482-7800. Tickets are also available at www.gnmikado.org.
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Lunar New Year Celebrations Great Neck Chinese Association members share cherished memories and traditions Compiled by Sheri ArbitalJacoby, Mimi Hu and Carey Ye
A historic decision was made this past spring. Great Neck Public Schools will be the ﬁrst district on Long Island to recognize Lunar New Year—the most important celebration for the Asian community— as an ofﬁcial school holiday. Observed on the ﬁrst day of the Chinese lunar calendar, the festival, which next falls on January 28, 2017, celebrates a year of hard work and makes way for incoming good luck. Observers are meant to rest and relax with family. In modern China, workers are given seven days off to celebrate. Some special family memories and observances from the community follow. 30
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y husband and I come from very different backgrounds and upbringings. John is from Smithtown on Long Island and has an American father and Taiwanese mother, a brother, and two half-brothers and a sister from Taiwan. I was born in Beijing and came to New York when I was 13. Chinese New Year has always been one of the most important holidays for both our families, but we
celebrated in different styles, coming from different cultures and ethnic backgrounds. My fondest Chinese New Year memory from childhood would be going to temple fairs or Miao Hui in Beijing with my parents, burning incense and praying for prosperity in the new year, not to mention trying a variety of delicious traditional Chinese street food, most of which can only be found during this time, and being amused
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with clay figurine artists. The best part was collecting red envelopes from families upon wishing them good health and wealth for the new year. My husband and I have tried to extend this tradition and celebrate our heritage since our twin girls, Victoria and Genevieve, were born. One of our favorite activities is dumpling making, along with singing traditional Chinese ballads. With more and more Chinese immigrants moving to Long Island, for the past couple of years, we have been going to local celebrations with other families so future generations can pass on and appreciate our culture. —ChenXin Xu-Ferguson
lthough the Lunar New Year celebrations vary from region to region and family to family, going home to have a sumptuous dinner, staying up, handing out hong bao (red envelopes containing cash) and paying respect to elders are the common mainstays. This photo depicts my Great Aunt Qiao and great uncle, who are seated with the red envelopes in hand, watching over their son and daughterin-law with their daughter performing the kowtow ritual. After their foreheads kiss the ground three times, the elders would hand each one a red envelope that contains money. I first encountered red-envelope etiquette after I left Beijing for Hong Kong in 1979. During the Lunar New Year, parents in Hong Kong hand out red envelopes to their children and grandchildren rather indiscriminately, but between relatives, friends
or acquaintances, the receiver should be unmarried. According to the story associated with this ritual, in ancient times, there was a demon who came out on New Year’s Eve to seed bad deeds. To chase away the demon, parents place coins or knotted red string wrapped in red paper under their children’s pillow to keep them safe. Nowadays, almost all the envelopes contain money. The kids use them to their heart’s content. Kowtow, on the other hand, is a rare sight, because it requires the person get on his knees and then bow low, touching his forehead to the ground. This is an excessively subservient act that was once enjoyed by the emperors when they believed they were the son of heaven and had no equal. The contemporary patriarch needs to have some prestige to persuade family members to participate in this ritual. —Irene E ng
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veryone who works away from their hometown comes back to celebrate Chinese New Year. We would prepare a table full of dishes and enjoy the food with the whole family while watching the CCTV Spring Festival Gala. As it approached 12 a.m., we would set off ﬁreworks to say goodbye to the old and welcome in the new. On the ﬁrst day of the New Year, we enjoy a bowl of sweet dumplings made from sticky rice. The round shape symbolizes our hope for a full and prosperous New Year. The ﬁrst month of the New Year is a time when families visit one another and offer their best greetings for the coming year. Everybody is so joyful and cheerful. Communities organize events and games for everyone to enjoy. In the picture above, a show is being put on by our community in front of a supermarket. A pretty girl stands in the middle of a make-believe boat made from paper and hemp. The gestures of the people around her express that they are pretending to row the boat. The people around the boat are singing songs, which is meant
to bring good futures. They say “bai nian” to wish each store a good year. The store owners respond by saying “hong bao” to return their wishes. Older generations give hong bao (red envelopes) to younger generations. It doesn’t matter how much money is inside; the greetings and wishes it embodies are far more important. We also give hong bao to the elders to wish them longevity. We also hang big red lanterns from the roof of our house, because red symbolizes prosperity. —Camille Wu
he Lunar New Year has been the most cheerful and blissful holiday throughout my entire childhood. It’s the biggest day of the whole year. Everyone in the family, no matter how far apart they are during the rest of the year, will try their best to get together for this traditional holiday. Families want to celebrate together and wish one another good luck for the coming year. In the picture at right, my sons, Charlie and Henry, and my niece Jiajia went to Shenzhen to celebrate Lunar New Year with their great grandma. Red envelopes are an important symbol during the Lunar New Year. The amount of money in them doesn’t matter; it’s more of a meaningful wish of good luck and smooth sailing for the new year. Red pockets are not only given by the elders to the children but also vice versa. Ya sui or money is given to wish the elders another healthy and peaceful year. —Si Wen
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ince my husband and I came to the United States 15 years ago, we rarely have the chance to spend Lunar New Year with our families in China, even though we do visit them during the summer or Christmastime. In China during Lunar New Year, a good start means good luck for the whole year, so people will spend an entire month celebrating. The experience of a family reunion during Lunar New Year is unique. Every place is full of happiness and blessings, and everybody is delighted and excited. Many family members and old
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friends who live far away from each other usually gather together. It is a time when old memories are being refreshed and new happy memories are being created. We celebrate Lunar New Year here with our two boys every year. I prepare a traditional Chinese New Year’s dinner for New Year’s Eve, and my husband and two boys decorate our home. We bring them to Lunar New Year celebrations in our community. Last year, we finally were able to bring our boys to China for Lunar New Year. They felt so special and happy! We had such a big family reunion where they met their grandparents and lots of cousins, and they even met their nephew! We taught them how to worship our ancestors, and they saw the largest firecracker they had ever seen. They really immersed themselves in Chinese culture during this trip and felt much closer to the hometown where their mom and dad were born. —Ke Wei
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