Whatever the culture, whatever the belief, we all celebrate that daunting renewal of sorts—the New Year. While the last evening in December is where it’s at for some, other communities come earlier and later to the party. Since ancient times, many Asians from countries around the world have welcomed the New Year according to the Lunar calendar, and different versions of that to boot. This year’s zodiac sign belongs to the dog, so if you find yourself howling at the moon every time your toddler to ‘tween’s mood makes you see red, just remember it’s a good luck color, and you both will fit right in with 2018’s Lunar New Year celebrations across the DMV!

4383764417_d09a89652a_zPhoto: Photo Phiend via Flickr


Chinese New Year‘s Parade
Lions and Dragons and Kung Fu, oh my! Presented each year by the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, all the traditional thrills are on hand for this year’s annual Chinatown parade promising to be the biggest and most diverse ever. Ahead of the parade start time of 2 p.m., check out the family- friendly activities at the Chinatown Cultural Center (616 H Street, NW from 12 p.m.-5 p.m.) or fill everyone’s bellies at Tony Cheng’s traditional restaurant.

7th and H Sts., N.W.
Feb. 18, 2 p.m.
Online: dcparade.com

Smithsonian Museum Celebrations
Both the Freer and Sackler Galleries, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, better known as SAAM, host fabulous fetes throughout the second weekend in February. Expect to see good luck red everywhere in SAAM’s Kogod Courtyard on Saturday with red lantern and panda crafts, Sichuan Opera, and other performances. On Sunday, head to the Freer and Sackler for interactive cooking and arts demonstrations, and live acrobatics and puppetry. Plus, pen a greeting to former D.C. Zoo resident, Bao Bao the Giant Panda, now living in his homeland of China.

Smithsonian American Art Museum
8th and F Sts., N.W.
Feb. 10, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Online: americanart.si.edu 

Freer|Sackler Galleries
Jefferson Dr. and 12th St., N.W.
Feb. 11, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Online: archive.asia.si.edu

Photo: maywong via flickr 


Falls Church 11th Annual Chinese New Year Celebration
Bark in the Year of the Dog with the Asian Community Service Center. Dragon and Lion dances, and a parade at 2 p.m. are just one of the highlights, along with children’s activities, cooking andarts demos, plus food for purchase. Claiming to be the largest indoor festival in the metro area, this one boasts a full spectrum of Asian culture with dancing from Korea, India, Thailand, China and Vietnam. Children 12 and under are also invited to learn a little Chinese and recite a poem on stage!

Luther Jackson Middle School
3020 Gallows Rd. (Falls Church, Va.)
Feb. 1010 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Online: chinesenewyearfestival.org

Fair Oaks Lunar New Year Celebration
In partnership with Hai Hua Community Center, Farifax, Virginia’s Fair Oaks Mall is the scene of two days of Lunar lunacy with dance and drum, craft and decor for all. One of the largest of its kind in the country, this festival features hundreds of community and professional performers from Asian countries representing the dazzling multi-cultural presence in our metro area.

11750 Fair Oaks Mall (Farifax, Va)
Feb. 17-18, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Online: shopfairoaksmall.com

Photo: Chinese Fine Arts Society


City of Rockville Lunar New Year Celebration
Just one year behind Falls Church in its dedication to Asian pride at this time of year, the City of Rockville will welcome the Year of the Dog with cultural displays and exhibitors, performances, and games and crafts for kids.

Richard Montgomery High School
250 Richard Montgomery Dr. (Rockville, Md)
Feb. 24, 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Online: rockvillemd.gov

Montgomery County Public Libraries
While no dogs are allowed, the library is one of the best places to bring the kids with low key community programming allowing for easy entry and exit as needed. Consult the website by searching on keyword New Year for a choice of Lunar New Year dates throughout February, and events from Chevy Chase to Wheaton, including dragon, lion, and other dances, as well as craft activities.

Various locations
Feb. 3-24
Online: host.evanced.info/montgomerycountymd

How do you plan to celebrate the Year of the Dog?


—Carolyn Ross