Continuing a Lunar New Year tradition, NYU Lutheran Medical Center, 150 55th Street, hosted its annual Chinese New Year celebration along with the Brooklyn Chinese American Association (BCAA), which featured lion dancers and a children’s choir.
The event, held on Friday, February 19, was attended by hospital employees and patients, as well as representatives of Visiting Nurse Service of New York and Healthfirst, who participated and distributed informational materials. Chinese food was served to attendees.
“We have a large Chinese population in the community of Sunset Park,” said Virginia Tong, vice president of cultural competence and partnership Innovation at NYU Lutheran. “It’s a celebration for everybody, including our patients and staff.”
President of BCAA Paul Mak discussed the excitement that the annual celebration brings to the community. “In the Chinese community, it’s one of the biggest celebrations they have so we have been honored [to come] here for the last 15 to 18 years, bringing the Chinese culture to the audience and to the medical community here,” he said. “One of the reasons we are here is we want to show our appreciation to NYU Lutheran and all the support that they have given to our organization and the community.”
He added that the children from the BCAA’s daycare center enjoy spreading the joy of the Lunar New Year throughout Brooklyn. “They look forward to it,” said Mak. “They go to other schools and try to bring the awareness of Chinese cultures and lion dance.”
“They come every year. They’ve been a great community group for us to work with,” said Tong, adding, “On one hand, it’s a celebration, and it’s also educational. We educate our staff and patients about what and why they’re celebrating, and share a little bit of the culture’s food, which always unites everybody.”
Jeanne Lee, president of the Augustana Center, gave background information on the parade. “Similar to Christmas cards on Christmas day, windows and doors are traditionally decorated with colorful posters with the theme words of happiness, health, longevity and luck,” she explained. “All rooms in the home need to be thoroughly cleaned, cleaning away all ill fortune in hopes of making way for incoming good luck.”
Lee also mentioned the importance food plays in the holiday. “The Chinese New Year festival brings families together for their annual reunion dinner, which includes roast pig, duck, chicken, noodles and sweet delicacies. The New Year pig symbolizes ongoing growth and strength,” she said. “We also eat oranges, representing brightness and good luck.