Celebrate the Lunar New Year
Every winter between late January and mid-February the Chinese New Year celebrations take over NYC. Here are some activities to help you and your family learn about this ancient holiday and celebrate it.
The Chinese Zodiac
The Chinese Zodiac, known as Sheng Xiao, is based on a twelve-year cycle, each year in that cycle related to an animal sign. These signs are the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.
Make a Book to Celebrate the Lunar New Year
Activities for Chinese New Year
The Chinese lunar New Year falls on a different date every year, always in January or February. There are many places to celebrate this annual festival in New York City, with fireworks, the lion dance, delicious dumplings, and noisy crowds.
Use this marvelous celebration as a way to teach social studies (Chinese culture), science (explain the lunar calendar and the solar calendar), mythology and folktales (the animals in the Chinese zodiac), and the arts (dance, music, costumes). Let's not forget all of the phys. ed. you'll be doing chasing those parades!
At Asia Society families can celebrate the lunar new year with Chinese opera (translated for kids), kung fu demonstrations, a lion dance, Chinese folktale theater, and calligraphy. Lunar New Year weekend on Saturday afternoon, 725 Park Ave., admission $12/adults, $5/students, children and seniors.
At the Museum of Chinese in America (215 Centre St., nr. Grand), Sunday on Lunar New Year weekend is Festival Family Day. From 10 am to 5 pm enjoy storytelling, a noodle-making workshop, a lion dance performance and workshop, arts & crafts, and browse the museum exhibit. Admission $10/person.
Free festivities in Chinatown
The famous Lunar New Year Parade takes place on Sunday during Lunar New Year weekend. But there is another big bash on Saturday, 11 am - 3 pm: Chinese New Year's Day Firecracker Ceremony and Cultural Festival, in Roosevelt Park bet. Grand and Hester Streets. See singers, dancers, lions, dragons, marching through the streets of Chinatown. The Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade and Festival, Sunday Lunar New Year weekend, from 11:30 am - 4 pm, starts in Little Italy and goes through Chinatown, along Mott, Canal, and Bayard Sts., and along East Broadway. Over 5,000 people participate including martial artists, musicians and dancers.
At the China Institute on E. 65th St. a traditional lion dance will be performed by martial artists and acrobats, free, on Sunday Lunar New Year weekend, 11 am - noon.
In Queens, about 4,000 people march in the parade in Flushing very year, with dragon dancers, steel drummers, and fireworks, on Saturday Lunar New Year weekend, from 11 am - 1 pm, viewing stands will be at the Flushing library (Main and Kissena) and parade's end at Main St. and 39th Ave. At the Queens Crossing Mall performances continue.
Other celebrations in Queens happen at the Library in Flushing and other locations.
The Brooklyn Lunar New Year's parade is in Sunset Park, Noon to 1 p.m.: starting at Eighth Avenue and 50th Street.
Books about Chinese New Year