To celebrate the arrival of the Chinese New Year, a Flash Mob featuring a hundred performers in monkey costumes plans to make an appearance inTimes Square.
At 1:30PM on Feb. 6, as New Yorkers gather in front of the famed square to celebrate the arrival of the Chinese New Year, the “Monkey King,” the main character in the Chinese classical novel Journey to the West, will appear with his “children” as part of a flash mob staging a performance that has borrowed heavily from classical Peking Opera, a form of traditional Chinese theater that has been both enjoyed and revered by Chinese audiences for more than two centuries. The event is an effort to let people from all over the world experience the beauty of Chinese culture, and, in a move to convey the New Year’s blessings, the actors will interact with pedestrians and tourists and ask those willing to join the performance.
The event, hosted by Beijing International Cultural Exchange Center and Beauty Media and sponsored by ICN TV Network and BeijingOpera and Arts College, is of vital importance to the cultural communication between China and the United States. With 2016 designated as China-U.S. Tourism Year, and the Chinese Lunar New Year declared as a school holiday in New York City for the first time, the Chinese New Year Countdown has become an opportunity to present Chinese culture to the world.
Highlights of the event:
- A new concept: introducing Chinese Zodiac culture while combining classical Peking Opera with a modern Flash Mob, it’s a new interpretation of the legendary Monkey King story.
- A new channel for spreading the message: showcasing literary and artistic features of Chinese culture in tandem with expressing the essence of Chinese spirit at the world-famous Crossroads of the World – Times Square – while offering New Year’s greetings to people all over the world.
- A diverse, multicultural audience: not only Chinese, but members of diverse ethnic backgrounds, will be participating.
The event is supported by the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in New York and the Government of the City of New York. We extend a warm invitation to representatives from the Consulate General of China in New York, New York City government officials, Congressman from the State of New York, international students in New York, members of the media and all New Yorkers as well as tourists visiting this great city. Together we will provide a Chinese visual feast in Times Square!
On February 7th, the eve of this year’s Chinese lunar New Year, WeChat, the most popular messaging app in China with 650 million monthly active users, will appear on the large screens overlooking Times Square and send Lucky Money, a traditional Chinese custom, to passers-by.
A giant “red envelope” icon, representative of the Lucky Money contained within, will be shown on the screens overlooking the famous square. At certain times, pedestrians passing through the square will have an opportunity to “earn” some Lucky Money by shaking their handsets as long as they have their Bluetooth and their WeChat “shake” functions turned on. The money will go to the receivers’ digital account in WeChat Wallet. Users can either withdraw or spend through WeChat Payment, a digital payment service provided by WeChat.
In Chinese and other Asian societies, a red envelope, also known as a red packet, or hongbao, is a monetary gift – the “lucky money” – which is given during holidays or special occasions. The Lucky Money event is certain to thrill passers-by while educating people from all over the world about this joyful custom amid a festive atmosphere.
Promotions and ads run constantly on the many huge digital billboards that overlook Times Square, the busiest intersection in Manhattan, yet, this is the first time that the world-famous square has hosted an interactive Chinese Lucky Money campaign.
Handing out red envelopes containing a monetary gift or “lucky money” is a Chinese custom with a long tradition. WeChat launched the Lucky Money feature during Chinese New Year 2014. Now, whether it is Chinese New Year, Valentine’s Day or Mid-Autumn Festival, another traditional Chinese holiday, Chinese people have already adopted the custom of expressing their feelings through WeChat Lucky Money. Sending WeChat Lucky Money has gradually become a new trend and a cultural phenomenon.
The number of Lucky Money being sent and received via WeChat is soaring: 16 million “red envelopes” containing lucky money were sent and received on the eve of Chinese New Year in 2014, while 1 billion such envelopes were sent and received on the same eve in 2015, followed by 500 million envelopes on Children’s Day, 1.4 billion on Chinese Valentine’s Day, more than 2.2 billion during Mid-Autumn Festival (twice as many as on New Year’s eve). 2.31 billion Lucky Money envelopes were sent and received on the last day of 2015.