ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — On Wednesday, the halls of the south end of the Empire State Plaza concourse were filled with red in celebration of the Lunar New Year. On display were moon gates at both ends of the hall, planter boxes filled with plants and flowers provided by the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision and Trader Joe’s, and paper lanterns.

“Lunar New Year is a great time of family and togetherness,” said Commissioner Moy. “I want to welcome everyone to the Empire State Plaza to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit with some exciting cultural performances by community organizations and great food. I want to thank the Taiwanese American Association of the Capital District, the Chinese Community Center, the Albany Chapter of the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association, and all the vendors and sponsors who are making this event possible.”

The Taiwanese American Association of the Capital District kicked off the festivities with performances of the Lion Dance and Techno Prince Dance. The Chinese Community Center presented martial arts demonstrations, a Dragon Dance, a Tibetan dance, and a performance from Farewell My Concubine by Angela Cooney and Kayla Xu. The Korean Association of Albany concluded the day with a Great Peace Dance.

“It is a great pleasure to be here with all of the communities and to make the Lunar New Year more lively with the Taiwanese and Korean communities,” said Wei Qin, President of the Chinese Community Center. “It is a great occasion and we really appreciate Empire State Plaza Commissioner Jeanette Moy for wanting to celebrate this with everybody.”

This year, Lunar New Year began on January 22 with celebrations culminating with the Lantern Festival on February 5. For those in the Chinese communities, the Lunar New Year can be an exceptionally busy time especially since it isn’t recognized as a state holiday. “Even though everyone still has to work, we have family feasts and a lot of get-togethers where we share red envelopes,” said Qin.

On January 22, the Chinese Community Center hosted a Lunar New Year Gala Show at UAlbany, which featured cultural performances from dancing to music and daring acrobatics by kung fu performers. Qin said the gala was a huge success and even drew the attention of a lot of local government officials. The Chinese Community Center has also been traveling to elementary and middle schools to introduce its culture.

“It has been lovely. It is a celebration that we cherish and we welcome people who are not from Chinese or Asian communities to celebrate with us.”