Known as the Lunar New Year as well as Spring Festival, Chinese New Year celebrations are culturally significant because they mark the beginning of the New Year according to the lunisolar Chinese calendar. Since the festivals are dependent on the cycles of the moon, the initial day of the actual New Year varies from year to year, but it often falls between late January and mid-February.
Chinese New Year events tend to be lively and joyous as they are an occasion to welcome a fresh year filled with longevity, good fortune, and happiness. Accordingly, it is not uncommon to encounter fireworks, firecrackers, red envelopes filled with lucky money, and lion and dragon dances at a festival. There are several cities across the U.S. that host official parades to celebrate Chinese New Year. With that said, here are some exciting places to participate in the festivities.
Here's Where To Celebrate Chinese New Year This Year
Photo: Presidio of Monterey/Flickr
San Francisco, CA
Due to the area’s historic association with Chinese immigrants, San Francisco is home to one of the oldest and largest Chinese New Year festivals in North America. The annual celebration lasts for about 2 weeks on and following the first day of the New Year. Sponsored and directed by the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, the event features a traditional Chinese Lantern Festival, 5K and 10K marathon, street fair, and parade that begins on Market Street and ends in Chinatown. Moreover, the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco offers special holiday deals.
Photo: Jamie Bernstein/Flickr
The Chinese New Year festival in Chicago is almost as grand as San Francisco’s. Local cultural institutions and businesses come together to celebrate the New Year. In the past, the Art Institute of Chicago, Symphony Center, Chicago Cultural Center, Garfield Park Conservatory, and Brookfield Zoo have featured exceptional educational events in honor of Chinese New Year. Moreover, the city holds a vivacious parade, Chinese Lantern Festival, and film festival.
The most notable part of Boston’s annual Chinese New Year celebration is its vibrant parade replete with enthusiastic lion dancers, firecrackers, and music. Chinese New Year festivals tend to be boisterous to scare away evil spirits and make way for good luck. Furthermore, Boston’s Chinatown during the event is known for serving up scrumptious street food and traditional fare at sit-down eateries.
New York City, NY
With an expansive Chinatown, NYC puts on an impressive celebration during Chinese New Year. The festivities include a giant parade with a firecracker ceremony, martial arts demonstration, art festival, and dance performance. In the past, the Flushing Town Hall hosted educational workshops where visitors can learn calligraphy and paper cutting.
Although Montana seems like an unlikely place to have a Chinese New Year celebration, the city of Butte disproves that notion. Since the 1990s, Butte observed the holiday with an invigorating parade with dancers and dragon that was donated from Taiwan. Additionally, the Mai Wah Museum holds a reception, and there is also an art exhibit hosted by a local business.
This article was written by Justina Tran.