The Wei Mei Dance Group prepares for their folk dance performance during the Chinese New Year Celebration at Water Works Park in Tampa.

Tampa Bay celebrates Lunar New Year with Year of the Rabbit

The Suncoast Association of Chinese Americans hosted the 40th annual celebration.
The Wei Mei Dance Group prepares for their folk dance performance during the Chinese New Year Celebration at Water Works Park in Tampa. [ JEFFEREE WOO | Times ]
The Suncoast Association of Chinese Americans hosted the 40th annual celebration.
Published Jan. 24|Updated Jan. 25

Hundreds of people gathered on Sunday at Water Works Park to celebrate Lunar New Year. The celebration marks the end of the year of the Tiger and begins with the Year of the Rabbit in the Chinese zodiac calendar.

There were traditions and customs observed during the celebration such as the lion and dragon dances, receiving of lucky money and more.

Janet Ho, president of the Suncoast Association of Chinese Americans, said Lunar New Year helps bring families together, gives people a fresh start and an opportunity to share heritage and traditions.

Members from the Tampa Chinese School perform the lion dance for the audience.
Members from the Tampa Chinese School perform the lion dance for the audience.
The year of the Rabbit is celebrated with a display of crafts.
The year of the Rabbit is celebrated with a display of crafts.
Members from the Anna Dance Academy, perform a Mongolian dance routine.
Members from the Anna Dance Academy, perform a Mongolian dance routine.
People laugh and clap as a person dressed in a panda costume performs.
People laugh and clap as a person dressed in a panda costume performs.
Dancers with the Sunshine Dance Group twirl in colorful dress while performing a folk dance.
Dancers with the Sunshine Dance Group twirl in colorful dress while performing a folk dance.
Haixia Horvath, of Parrish, and her daughter Reka, 5, tie a Chinese knot, together.
Haixia Horvath, of Parrish, and her daughter Reka, 5, tie a Chinese knot, together.
Zoey Delaven, 4, learns how to tie a Chinese knot, which is a symbol for longevity and eternity.
Zoey Delaven, 4, learns how to tie a Chinese knot, which is a symbol for longevity and eternity.
Young performers from the Anna Dance Academy practice their routing before they take the stage.
Young performers from the Anna Dance Academy practice their routing before they take the stage.
A performer with the Tampa Chinese School performs during a lion dance for the audience.
A performer with the Tampa Chinese School performs during a lion dance for the audience.
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The Sunshine Dance Group of Tampa perform a Peking Opera ‘Water Sleeve’ dance for the audience.
The Sunshine Dance Group of Tampa perform a Peking Opera ‘Water Sleeve’ dance for the audience.
Singers with the Sunshine Dance Group of Tampa are pictured during a performance.
Singers with the Sunshine Dance Group of Tampa are pictured during a performance.
The Tampa Qipao Team model their qipao, also called cheongsam, a traditional Chinese dress.
The Tampa Qipao Team model their qipao, also called cheongsam, a traditional Chinese dress.
The Sunshine Dance Group of Tampa perform a Chinese ethnic folk dance while wearing traditional clothing which represent the diverse groups of people in China.
The Sunshine Dance Group of Tampa perform a Chinese ethnic folk dance while wearing traditional clothing which represent the diverse groups of people in China.
The Tampa Mt. Song Martial Arts Academy perform a dragon dance, which is done to bring in good luck.
The Tampa Mt. Song Martial Arts Academy perform a dragon dance, which is done to bring in good luck.