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Lunar New Year Celebrations Kick Off Marking Year Of The Rat

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Saturday marks the first day of the Lunar New Year, and it's the Year of the Rat.

This 15-day celebration is filled with traditions that have been passed down for thousands of years.

RELATED STORY: Year Of The Rat Begins As New Yorkers Prepare For Lunar New Year Celebrations

Joanne Kwong, president of Pearl River Mart, the iconic Asian emporium located in Tribeca, stopped by to talk about the holiday.

"The rat gets a bad wrap," Kwong joked. "The rat, when you think about it, is a resourceful animal. Quick witted, always fast. You've never seen a lazy rat, really."

Kwong said the rat is revered in Chinese culture for those qualities and more.

On the first day of the Lunar New Year, children and single people are given money in red envelopes.

Check out Kwong's full interview in the video above.

Lunar New Year Celebrations Planned For Flushing, Queens

Mayor Bill de Blasio will march Saturday in the Queens Lunar New Year Parade, which kicks off at Union Street and 37th Avenue and ends at Main Street and 39th Avenue.

WHAT CHINESE ZODIAC ANIMAL ARE YOU? Horse? Goat? Dragon? Find out on

For more Lunar New Year happenings this year, check out Time Out New York's Best Things To Do For Lunar New Year and NYC GO's Lunar New Year Guide. There you'll find dates and places for neighborhood festivals, parades, children's activities and more.

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