The Legend of Nian

           As I sat with my brother and a friend of mine in the foodcourt of the New World Mall, Chinatown, Flushing, Queens in New York, I saw the groups of Chinese wearing Lion masks and dancing to cymbals and gongs visiting the stalls bringing in the good luck. It was January 29th of 2017, the 2nd day of the Chinese Lunar New Year. The foodcourt which consists of Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, Korean food stalls were filled with empty seats difficult to find. Chinatown in Flushing is the fast emerging Chinatown quickly eclipsing the one in Manhattan near Canal street and very vibrant (read about it here in detail  –

       Chinese New Year is called Guo Nian meaning the victory of the people over Nian.


Lion dancers performing at one of the food joints in the Food Court at New World Mall, Chinatown, Flushing, NYC


Lion dance groups playing the drums, Gongs, Cymbals at New World Mall, Chinatown, Flushing, NYC

            The Chinese New Year,  begins on New Moon between January 21st and February 20th of every year. Nowadays the Chinese celebrate the New Year to honor the deities of the heaven and earth and also their ancestors. In China, it causes one of the largest human migrations from cities to the villages. Many Buddhists believe that the first day of the new year is also the birth of Maitreya Bodhisattva, the Buddha-to-be.  

Food Court in New World Mall, Chinatown, Flushing, NYC decorated in bright red colors and lanterns.

Where to stay?

There are few hotels which are there in the heart of the Chinatown – Ramada in Prince street, Best Western, Sheraton are some of the options. It is not unusual for room tariff to go high for the weekends and especially during the Chinese New Year.

Lion Dancers performing in the street at Chinatown, Flushing, NYC

Other Information

Do note many restaurants are open on the Chinese New year.

There are many restaurants in Chinatown offer Bring Your Own Liquor (BYOL) which is convenient if you want get togethers.

Do make use of the $30/hour massages while you are there.

Also get a haircut and excellent shampoo wash with massage for just $10 in many of the shops in Chinatown.


Further Reads: 

Read about the Chinatown in Flushing, Queens, New York here –

Read about Chinese Lantern Festival –

About Saran Shanmugam

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