4 NYC Lunar New Year Celebrations You Don’t Want to Miss

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February 12, 2021
nyc lunar new year

This Friday, February 12, is the official start of the Lunar New Year. This year, it’s represented by the Ox in the Chinese zodiac. Traditionally associated with strength and fortitude, we couldn’t think of a better zodiac sign to usher us into another year. 

Celebrations and festivals are held in honor of the holiday throughout New York, but perhaps the most iconic Lunar New Year event takes place in Manhattan’s Chinatown, an ever-shifting and expanding area of the Lower East Side roughly bordered by Canal, Hester, and Grand Streets to the north; Leonard Street, Bowery, and Henry Street to the south; Essex and Rutger Streets to the east; and Broadway to the west. 

This annual event is famous for its lion dance, firecracker ceremony, and overall festive atmosphere — city schools are closed in observance, allowing families to attend together. Traditionally it’s a joyful, much-anticipated event for those in the neighborhood (and city dwellers in general). 

In previous years, this weekend would see the neighborhood covered in confetti and filled with people enjoying the Chinese New Year Parade.  Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, the parade has been postponed until the spring. Still want to enjoy the events? You’re in luck as many have been reimagined. Read on to learn more about how one of Manhattan’s most historic neighborhoods is ringing in the Year of the Ox:

Cultural Festival to Celebrate NYC Lunar New Year

Featuring a confetti display and lion dance performance, this year the festival will be a small outdoor event. However, it will also be available to watch online.

When: February 12, 11:30 a.m. – 1p.m. Where: American Legion Kimlau Memorial Square, 22 Chatham Square and 1 East Broadway

China Institute’s Chinese New Year Family Festival

This online event will feature family friendly activities including workshops on crafts and dumpling making, plus a lion dance and puppet performance to begin the festivities.

When: February 13, 11 a.m. Where: Online (register here)

New York Chinese Cultural Center’s Lunar New Year Celebration

A performance will kick off this virtual celebration, with highlights including a lion dance, kung fu, music, and dance. Workshops on kung fu, Chinese dance, and the Mandarin language and culture will follow at 11:30 a.m. 

When: February 14, 11 a.m. Where: Online (register here)

Museum of Chinese in America’s Lunar New Year Family Festival

MOCA’s weeklong celebration series will feature a wide array of workshops and events, including author meet and greets, arts and crafts, noodle making, and, of course, a lion dance performance. This entire series is intended to entertain and educate the whole family.

When: February 11 to February 19 Where: Online (register here)

No matter how you choose to celebrate, this year’s Lunar New Year festivities continue a long and beloved tradition in Chinatown.

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