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Bianca Alexis Photography, (background)

I’m a Lion Dancer!

Third-grader Rylee Ma is getting ready to perform in New York City's Asian Lunar New Year parade. Here's her story.

Gung Hay Fat Choy! That’s a popular New Year’s greeting in a Chinese language. In a few weeks, my family and other people around the world will celebrate the Chinese New Year. This holiday is also called Asian Lunar New Year. It lasts for two whole weeks.

My favorite part is the big parade in my city. This year, I get to be in it as a lion dancer. I will put on a colorful lion costume and dance down the streets. Someone is the lion’s head, and someone is the tail.

The lion dance started a long time ago. It is supposed to chase away bad luck from the old year and bring good luck for the new year. My brother and I have been taking classes to learn the dance. It’s hard to remember all of the steps!

The parade isn’t the only fun New Year’s tradition. We also visit family. Some family members give us red envelopes with money inside. And we have meals together. Two foods I like are fish and oranges. They’re supposed to be lucky to eat. Plus they taste good!

During a Lunar New Year parade, people hold up a dragon puppet.

What makes something a tradition?

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