5 Places to Celebrate the Lunar New Year

4th February 2019

The Lunar New Year is a sacred and celebratory time of the year for many Asian cultures, signifying the sweeping away of the past to make room for good fortune and incoming prosperity. The first day of Lunar New Year begins on the new moon that appears between January 21 and February 20. In 2019, the first day of the Chinese New Year will be on Tuesday, February 5, ushering in the Year of the Pig. This year, ring in the Year of the Pig with Lunar New Year celebrations across the country. With everything from fireworks to parades to food, families can join in the revelry.

Boston, MA

On February 9, 2019, Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts offers free admission for all to celebrate the Lunar New Year. Families can explore Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese traditions while enjoying activities, demonstrations, and performances throughout the day. Go on a tour or talk highlighting works of art in the Art of Asia galleries (tours in English, American Sign Language and Mandarin). Enjoy a variety of music and dance performances throughout the Museum — including Lion dances performed by the Gund Kwok Asian Women Lion and Dragon Dance Troupe. Families can also drop in on hands-on art-making activities to create masterpieces to take home. Watch energetic presentations of Chinese and Vietnamese martial arts, and participate in interactive demonstrations of Saebae, a Korean New Year’s ceremony, and a traditional Chinese tea ceremony.

Las Vegas, NV

Las Vegas isn’t one to shy away from spectacle, and the Lunar New Year is no exception for the city’s pageantry.  To celebrate 2019’s Year of the Pig, the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens (free to visit!) filled its entire 14,000-square-foot space with flowers — and a grand centerpiece of a 3,000lb. golden pig. The hotel’s horticulturalists, who are artists in their own right, create jaw-dropping displays that will wow the whole family.

New York City, NY

Lunar New Year is celebrated across New York City’s five boroughs, as it boasts several Chinatown neighborhoods. In Manhattan, don’t miss the Firecracker Ceremony and Cultural Festival when it lights up the sky on February 5, 2019. Over in Flushing, Queens, families can enjoy performances, art-making, lantern making, and food — plus there are performances like a dragon parade at the Chinese New Year Temple Bazaar on February 17.

Washington, D.C.

The Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA) is holding its biggest and most diverse parade ever to ring in the 4717 Chinese Lunar New Year. D.C.’s Chinatown celebration includes a dynamic community-based parade with traditional lion and dragon dances, Kung Fu demonstrations, firecrackers, live music and marching bands and other community talents. Join the festivities on February 10, 2019.

San Francisco, CA

San Francisco’s Lunar New Year celebrations go strong all throughoutFebruary. But the city’s official Chinese New Year Parade on February 23 is one of the biggest, most iconic illuminated nighttime parades in the country. It’s also the largest Lunar New Year celebration in the Western world, with almost half a million people joining the festivities downtown. A crowd favorite is the spectacular 288-foot Golden Dragon (“Gum Lung”). It takes a team of over 180 men and women from the martial arts group, White Crane, to carry the Golden Dragon through the streets of San Francisco.

Find more family-friendly festivals here.

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