The New Year’s Day Firecracker Ceremony [Video]
Yesterday was the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year, the year of the tiger. Thousands gathered in the tight quarters of Sara D. Roosevelt Park (basketball court in the functioning half of Hester Street Playground) to kick off the celebration with a bang. Indeed, it was the annual New Year’s Day Firecracker Ceremony, a display of pyrotechnics traditionally meant to ward off the evil spirits.
A handful of people arrived early to snag a perch with a good vantage point, but by 11:30 a.m., the place was packed. We were crammed against the metal railing on the Chrystie Street perimeter of the basketball court. Others were hugging trees, standing on benches, and sitting on shoulders; anything to catch a glimpse of the excitement.
There were a few local politicians in attendance – City Comptroller John C. Liu and Councilmember Margaret Chin among others – who briefly spoke amidst the tumult and clamor of drums, cymbals, and popping confetti tubes.
The firecracker display itself was quite impressive – over three minutes of ear-splitting snap-crackle-pop, accompanied by oohs and aahs from the crowd.