Chinese New Year in New York makes for a serious party, complete with colorful parades, performances, firecrackers, food and cultural festivities.
Chinese New Year (also known as Lunar New Year) is the most important holiday in traditional Chinese culture: a time of new beginnings, family gatherings, thanksgiving, and hopes for good fortune. The Chinese calendar is lunisolar, so the date of the New Year fluctuates on the Western calendar. In 2015, the Year of the Goat, New Year occurs on February 19th.
Want to join the celebration? Here are the top Chinese New Year’s events in New York City!
New Year celebrations in Manhattan
New Year Firecracker Ceremony:
The new year begins with a bang: the detonation of 600,000 firecrackers and rockets, a ritual believed to drive away evil spirits. In addition to the explosive ceremony, there are lion dances, drumming, dance troupes, and a parade through Manhattan’s Chinatown. Sara D. Roosevelt Park hosts the ceremony as well as a cultural festival with performances, food, and booths selling traditional Chinese New Year items.
February 19, 2015
Firecracker Ceremony: 11pm
Cultural Festival: 11am to 3pm
Sara D. Roosevelt Park: Canal to East Houston between Forsyth and Chrystie Streets.
Subway: B or D to Grand Street, J to Bowery, or F to Delancey St.
Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade and Festival:
This grand parade through Manhattan’s Chinatown features elaborate floats, marching bands, lion and dragon dances, Asian musicians, acrobats, and local organizations. After the parade there is festival in Sara D. Roosevelt Park with music, dancers, and martial artists.
February 22, 2014, 1 to 3pm
The parade begins at Canal & Mott Streets, continues to Chatham Square at East Broadway, then down East Broadway under the Manhattan Bridge. It then proceeds down Eldridge Street to Grand Street at Forsyth Street, ending at Sara D Roosevelt Park.
Lunar New Year celebrations in Flushing
Flushing, Queens is home to New York City’s largest Chinese community, and its new year festivities are equally grand. 4,000 people march in its Lunar New Year Parade that includes dragon dancers, steel drummers, and fireworks. There is also a festival at the Queens Crossing Mall (136-17 39th Ave) with performances, food, and holiday booths.
February 21, 2015
Parade: 11am to 12pm
Begins at Union Street and 37th Avenue, heads south on Union to Sanford Avenue, turns west to Main Street and heads north to 37th Avenue.
Flushing Town Hall will host a traditional Lunar New Year Bazaar featuring a lion dance, performances of opera and folk music and dance, magic and martial arts. You can create traditional Chinese crafts at free workshops and, of course, these will be lots of delicious treats. February 14, 2015: 11am – 3:30pm. They will also present a free Lunar New Year Dance Sampler on February 22, 2pm.
Other Lunar New Year Celebrations in New York:
The wonderful MOCA (Museum of Chinese in America) hosts several New Year events, including:
Preparing for the New Year in Chinatown, a walking tour of Manhattan’s Chinatown, focused on holiday traditions and customs observed by Chinese households. Saturdays and Sundays in February from February 7, 2015 through February 22, 2015. Time: 11:00 am and 1:00 pm.
They will also host a Lunar New Year Museum Makeover and a Family Festival with traditional dance performances, stories, and workshops. Check the museum’s website for complete details.
New York City Parks will host numerous New Year celebrations February 19 – March 1. Events take place in Sunset Park, Brooklyn (one of NYC’s largest Chinese communities), at the Queens Botanical Garden and the Prospect Park & Queens zoos. Check here for complete details.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art will present New Beginnings: Lunar New Year Celebration on February 28, 12-5pm. Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Met’s Department of Asian Art, the event includes performances, interactive gallery activities, and artist-led workshops for all ages!
The New York Chinese Cultural Center presents programs at the Queens Museum (February 15, 2-4pm), the Bronx Museum (February 21, 2-4pm). The programs are designed to introduce New Yorkers to authentic Chinese culture with costumed folk dances and hands-on arts and crafts demonstration.
The New York Philharmonic rings in the new year with its annual Chinese New Year Concert on February 24, 7:30pm. The program features works by Chinese composers and this year will include renowned cellist YoYo Ma. There is a Chinese New Year Gala, which includes a pre-concert reception, concert, and post-concert dinner. The concert will be broadcast live on Classical 105.9 WQXR and streamed on wqxr.org.
Do you celebrate Chinese/Lunar New Year? Tell us how in the comments below.