The Parsippany-Troy Hills Free Public Library rung in the new year Chinese style at a special event at its Halsey Road branch last Saturday.
The library's 12th annual Chinese New Year Celebration featured a variety of activities for kids (and adults), including face painting, origami, paper cutting, Chinese calligraphy and games. There even was a lively and colorful Chinese dragon at the event.
Township Council member Jonathan Nelson, who lived in Beijing from 1992-93, heard the hubbub while at the library and said he was delighted to see the celebration as it happened.
"I was checking a book out of the library when I heard traditional Chinese music coming from the basement, and I was curious," he explained. "It was great to see the excitement on the childrens' faces."
Nelson said new year is a major deal in the world's largest nation.
"The Chinese New Year is the biggest and most festive holiday of the year for the Chinese community," he said. "Think of it as New Year's Eve and Thanksgiving rolled into one."
The actual holiday takes place Feb. 10. Until then, Nelson offered a greeting in Mandarin for all celebrating: "Gong xi fa cai (Happy New Year)."