The Chinese New Year or Lunar New Year is a 16-day celebration starting with New Year’s Eve on January 24, 2020, and ending with the Lantern Festival on February 8th, 2020. During this time, people celebrate by decorating their houses, buying new clothes, visiting family and lighting fireworks. January 25th starts the Year of the Rat! Here are some ideas on how you can celebrate the Chinese New Year in communities nationwide:
VISIT A CHINESE NEW YEAR FESTIVAL
New Year festivals are an interactive way to take part in Chinese culture. The dragon and lion dances are especially a beautiful piece of the culture. Dragons symbolize luck and in the traditional dances, many people hold up a dragon using poles, the longer the dragon, the greater the luck. The lions’ presence keeps away the evil spirit, Nian. Lion dancer styles differ around parts of China. Learn more here!
The Atlanta Lunar New Year Festival takes place Saturday, January 25th and Sunday, January 26th at Atlanta Chinatown Mall. This year’s festival includes a “Taiwanese night market, a dragon & lion dance, and art & culture exhibits”.
LISTEN TO MUSIC FROM CHINESE MUSICIANS
The New York Philharmonic hosts a Chinese New Year performance each year. On Tuesday, January 28th experience “Zhou Tian’s Gift and the New York Premiere of Texu Kim’s ping pong–inspired Spin-Flip. Witness rising superstar Haochen Zhang in Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Gil Shaham in Chen Gang and He Zhanhao’s The Butterfly Lovers, Violin Concerto.”
Every year, people look forward to the broadcasting of the Chinese New Year Gala on Chinese Central Television, The gala features a variety of performances including instrumentation and dance.
GO TO A TEA CEREMONY
The Parkway Central Library of Philadelphia is hosting its annual Chinese New Year Celebration on Saturday, February 1st. The celebration includes “A tea ceremony and flower arrangement show that will highlight the beauty and harmony of cultural exchanges and collaborations.”
While tea is a staple in Chinese culture, some foods eaten during the New Year reunion dinner have certain hallmarks attributed to them. Families typically eat steamed dumplings which symbolize prosperity for the new year. Learn more here!
SEE THE CHINESE PAPER LANTERNS
Lanterns have different meanings in Chinese culture. Sky lanterns can represent making a wish while some lanterns have a more religious connotation and can represent saving a seat for a god.
The Louisville Zoo hosts the Wild Lights Asian Lantern Festival from March 5th- April 25th. You can take an hour-long walk through the lantern-lit zoo. Other activities include “viewing traditional Chinese performances and trying traditional cuisine”.
GO TO A NEW YEAR PARADE
Disneyland is celebrating the Year of the Mouse *ahem* Rat from January 17- February 9 with a Mulan themed Lunar New Year Parade. The park also celebrates with a water show, Asian cuisine, and Disney characters sporting festive red costumes.
Red is a prominent color used in New Year decorations. The color symbolizes both good luck and fire. With a promise of good luck and fire to ward off evil spirits, it’s no wonder why red is a popular color for clothing, lanterns, and decorations during the New Year. Learn more here!
The Chinese New Year is a time of allowing prosperity and good luck into your life. Take the time to talk to the people you’re most grateful for, reflect on the past year, and move forward without the negativity of the past.
Happy New Year!/ xīn nián kuài lè!