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c. 1960

What the Lunar New Year looked like in 1960

The Year of the Rat meant the coming of a new dawn

5th February 1960: A Chinese New Year's parade through the streets of Chinatown, New York, during the Year of the Rat. (Photo by BIPS/Getty Images)

The Chinese Year of the Pig has just begun. These photos, taken in Manhattan 1960, show the festivities for the arrival of the Year of the Rat.

The Rat—the first animal in the Chinese Zodiac—represents the coming of a new dawn.  The Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival, is a lunar New Year and is common across a number of Asian countries that have been influenced by China. It is almost always celebrated on the nearest new moon to the first day of spring—usually February 4th or 5th.

Today, more than 20% of the world’s population actively celebrates the Chinese New Year, including many in New York, pictured here almost sixty years ago.

Dragon and lion dances are performed to the sound of gongs and drums in a huge street procession.
BIPS/Getty Images
Children parade through the streets.
BIPS/Getty Images
Scenes from the parade.
BIPS/Getty Images
Dragon and lion dancers.
BIPS/Getty Images
The celebrations finish with a Lantern Festival, when children parade through the streets with lighted lanterns.
BIPS/Getty Images
Chinese and American flags fly in the streets.
BIPS/Getty Images
Parading through the streets.
BIPS/Getty Images
The view from a balcony.
BIPS/Getty Images
Parading musicians play drums and cymbals.
Russell Knight and F. Roy Kemp/BIPs/Hulton Archive/Getty Image
A young woman and two girls taking part in a beauty parade.
Russell Knight and F. Roy Kemp/BIPs/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Spectators on a balcony in Chinatown.
Russell Knight and F. Roy Kemp/BIPs/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Chinese lions taking part in the celebrations.
Russell Knight and F. Roy Kemp/BIPs/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
A group of parents and children.
Russell Knight and F. Roy Kemp/BIPs/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
A group of American-style majorettes.
Russell Knight and F. Roy Kemp/BIPs/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

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