BELLEVILLE, NJ â The Year of the Tiger kicked off with Mayor Michael Melham making remarks followed by a virtual fireworks display that lit up the sky above City Hall on February 1.
The Chinese New Year is an opportunity for Belleville to recognize an important chapter in its history. The very first Chinese New Year celebration on the East Coast was held in Belleville 151 years ago. The celebration was only possible because these Chinese immigrants, who had been ostracized and excluded in other communities across the country, were welcomed to Belleville. Even though these Chinese Americans gave their blood, sweat, and tears to build much of the country’s primitive railroad system, they faced prejudice almost everywhere they turned except Belleville.
“Belleville has a long history of acceptance and inclusion that proudly continues to this day,” Melham said. âIt reminds us that our city is enriched when we open our arms to others. Chinese New Year is a time to enjoy fireworks, eat festive food and celebrate our differences â together.
The Year of the Tiger, a water tiger, runs from February 1, 2022 to January 21, 2023. The tiger is known as the king of all beasts in China. The zodiac sign tiger is a symbol of strength, exorcising evils and bravery. Many Chinese children wear hats or shoes with a tiger image for good luck.
The video with Melham’s remarks and the virtual fireworks can be viewed at https://fb.watch/b1h07kH0Br/.
Photos courtesy of Michael Melham