2015-03-18 / Front Page

Year Of The Goat Celebrated At Key Luck Club New Year Celebration

By Catherine Tsounis

     Guests at New Year Celebration that included Councilman Mark Weprin ( first row, 3rd from left) and Assemblyman Edward Braunstein (1st row, 5th from left).

Guests at New Year Celebration that included Councilman Mark Weprin ( first row, 3rd from left) and Assemblyman Edward Braunstein (1st row, 5th from left).      2015 is the year of the “Goat” for all who celebrate the Chinese Lunar calendar. Persons born this year will have good health and a great job outlook. This is great news for all Americans born this year. Keep this news close as a positive omen to families with new babies this year, including the royal family of England.
            Councilman Mark Weprin and Assemblyman Edward Braunstein joined over 180 seniors from Eastern Queens in celebrating the Chinese New Year 4713 – The Year of the Goat at Bayside Senior Center on Saturday, March 7, 2015. Kung “Hei Fat Choy! Kung Hei Fat Choy!” echoed throughout a packed hall. Happy New Year greetings spread among seniors and their guests. A time of reunion and harmony among all.
Key Luck President Irene Cheung said “Bang! Bang! Bang! A lion dance came and cheered up the seniors. The jumping, kicking and bowing of the lion dance brings the symbolic meaning of another happy and healthy year to the audience. Lion dance is a form of traditional dance in Chinese culture and other Asian countries in which performers mimic a Key Luck President Irene Cheung (2nd from left) with Assemblyman Edward Braunstein and performers.
Key Luck President Irene Cheung (2nd from left) with Assemblyman Edward Braunstein and performers. lion's movements in a lion costume. The lion dance is usually performed during the Chinese New Year and other Chinese traditional, cultural and religious festivals. The Chinese Lion Dance is performed accompanied by the music of beating of drums, cymbals, and gongs. Instruments synchronize to the lion dance movements and actions. The lion dance costumes used in these performances can only be custom made in specialty craft shops in rural parts of China and have to be imported at considerable expense for most foreign countries outside Asia. For groups in Western countries, this is made possible through funds raised through subscriptions and pledges made by members of local cultural and business societies (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lion_dance).
President Cheung explained “The program of this year celebration included: Mr. Jonathan Yu’s traditional Chinese folk dance; Camille Yeung’s Cantonese Opera sword dance; Coach Young’s Tai Chi demonstration; Ms. Qine Fan and her vocal class students’ Chinese folk songs; Professor Yue Lin’s “Welcome New Year” line dancing; Jessica Wang’s piano music; and Susan Han’s Tai Chi dance.  The seniors all enjoyed and experienced an authentic Chinese New Year feast and the performance.  Every seniors received a “hong bao” (lucky red envelope) from the host.”
What is the lucky red envelope?  “Red envelopes are gifts presented at social and family gatherings such as weddings or on holidays such as the Chinese New Year. The red color of the envelope symbolizes good luck and is supposed to ward off evil spirits, “according to Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_envelope. “There are several legends as to how the red envelope came to be and became prevalent in China. One story depicts a village where a demon was terrorizing the people at night, in most cases children were the victims. Councilman Mark Weprin (4th from left) with performers and Key Luck President Irene Cheung (5th from left).Councilman Mark Weprin (4th from left) with performers and Key Luck President Irene Cheung (5th from left).The belief was that the demon was touching the children's head while they were asleep and this would cause the children to become deathly ill or may even result in death. As the theory continued to linger within the village, a worried couple decided to protect their new born child by praying to their god for protection. In return, their god sent eight fairies to protect the new born child from the demon. In order to trick the demon, the fairies disguised themselves as eight coins and were placed under the child's pillow at night to protect the child. At night the demon supposedly approached to touch the child on the head when the eight coins began to shine so bright that it prohibited the demon to see. Frightened from what had just happened, the demon ran away in terror. After hearing this story, the villagers began spreading the word and gave out red envelopes filled with coins to be placed under their pillow at night. At first the red envelopes were only given to children during the Spring Festival, but as time progress they were given to anyone. By giving these red envelopes it would bring good luck and prosperity to the one receiving it. It would also prevent any evil spirits from contacting them throughout the year until the next Spring Festival.”
 “Since December 2011, Key Luck Club a volunteer-based group provides recreational and educational activities to the older adults at Bayside Senior Center since December 201, explained President Cheung. “ Programming includes Tai Chi exercise, ESL classes, Chinese calligraphy, Chinese painting, wellness exercise, ballroom dancing, line dancing, vocal lessons, karaoke singing, ping pong, pool playing, and educational workshop.” The Key Luck Club meets every Saturday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Adults sixty and over of Chinese background attend. Seniors of all ethnic backgrounds are welcome. It is funded by the NYC Department for the aging. For further information, contact President Irene Cheung, 646 752-1302.
 



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