Empire State Building lit red for Chinese New Year
Empire State Building lit red for Chinese New Year. Image – Youtube.
  • Chinese New Year starts today, as we welcome in the Year of the Ox
  • We say good bye to the Year of the Rat, and perhaps, good riddance?
  • Among many other celebrations, the Empire State Building was lit red

Gong Xi Fa Cai to all our Chinese friends. Today is the first day of the lunar new year, the Year of the Ox.

We’ve left behind the Year of the Rat – perhaps, appropriately, a year many of us are happy to leave behind, and now welcome in the honest, hard-working ox.

In honour of the day, there will be lion dances, ceremonies and copious amounts of fantastic food being consumed, along with relatives getting together, if possible.

For this period marks the largest human migration on the planet, albeit somewhat curtailed in 2021.

The festival goes on for 15 days ending in two weeks’ time on 26 February.

In honour of the New Year, the “World’s Most Famous Building”, the Empire State Building was lit red. An iconic landmark of New York city, the 1,454 feet office tower will mark its 90th birthday this year,

In the video below, you can see the ceremonial light-turning on moment, officiated by Tony Malkin (CEO of Empire State Realty Trust) and Ambassador Huang Ping (Chinese Consul-General).

Together with the lights, a new Spring Festival window display has been opened in the building’s Fifth Avenue lobby that celebrates the Year of the Ox.

Designed by United Design Lab in collaboration with China Arts and Entertainment Group Ltd, the display tells the story of the Ox as a return to normalcy in 2021 after an unprecedented year.

In four scenes, the Ox welcomes spring, is represented as a symbol of peace, stands as a protector from floods to bring good weather, and ushers in a prosperous harvest. With traditional elements such as gourds, auspicious clouds, lotus flowers, pomegranates, and flying lanterns, the windows respect the importance of these historical Chinese symbols.

“Lunar New Year is such a significant event for Chinese and people of Chinese descent all around the world. Families travel to celebrate together. In a world disrupted by COVID, we honour this celebration with our special and meaningful tower lighting and fantastical window display,” said Jean-Yves Ghazi, president of the Empire State Building Observatory Experience.

“The Empire State Building expresses its best wishes to our friends who celebrate the Lunar New Year of the Ox for a rich and fortunate new year. The Empire State Building is open and ready to welcome everyone back to New York City.”


Quirky Fact: it’s bad luck to sweep your floor today, as you are sweeping away the good fortune, so drop that mop. Leave it ’til tomorrow.

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