7 Ways to Celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year

Grab you little lambs and celebrate the Chinese Year of the Sheep (or Ram or Goat–the Chinese word yáng is ambiguous). Lunar New Year 2015 begins on Feb. 19 and you can party on for 15 awesome days. Sweep out the bad luck of the old year, put on some lucky red clothes and let your tiny dragon dance with joy at these spectacular festivities.CNF11Feb12El355

Lunar New Year Family Days
Dancing 15 feet long dragons, music, hands-on crafts, story telling, and decorations to make and take home will spark the imaginations of your adventurers. The Sackler event on Feb. 21 is a must for older crafty kids who can make baa-tastic pop-up sheep greeting cards complete with “Happy New Year” in a variety of Asian languages.

When: Feb. 14, 11:30 am–3 pm
Cost: Free
American Art Museum, Kogod Courtyard
8th and F Sts., NW (Chinatown)
Online: Chinese New Year Family Festival

When: Feb. 14, 10 am -6 pm
Cost: Free
Luther Jackson Middle School
3020 Gallows Rd, (Falls Church, Va)
Online: chinesenewyearfestival.org

When: Feb. 21, 11 am–4 pm
Cost: Free
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
ImaginAsia classroom, sublevel 2
1050 Independence Ave., SW (Smithsonian Metro)
Online: Sackler2256858480_28de627032_z

Dancing Dragons in the Street
D.C.’s Chinatown hosts a sweet colorful Chinese New Year’s Parade. No marching bands, but brilliantly colored long long l-o-n-g dragons swirl, whirl and twirl in a choreographed dance through the street. Fireworks snap on the street. Candy gets tossed. Prime parade real estate is the corner of H and 7th by the imperial Friendship Arch. Come early and bring lawn chairs, blankets and cocoa to keep warm. If weather turns extra-nippy, head indoors to the Chinatown Community Cultural Center (616 H St., NW) for even more festivities.

When: Feb. 22, 12 pm-5 pm
H St., NW, between 6th and 8th Sts. (Chinatown, DC)l

Dancing Lions and Dim Sum
Yummy dim sum and a kid-friendly kung fu dance show…now that’s a celebration. Take your gastronomic explorers to these restaurants for dim sum (aka brunchof Chinese delicacies on rolling carts) and the traditional Lion dance. The acrobatics of the two-person costumed lions will keep wiggly kids agog. Sensitive ears tip: take earplugs to mute the loud drum that accompanies the dance performance.  Red envelope tip: don’t be surprised if the owners pass out traditional red envelopes for you and the kids to feed a dollar tip to the Lion performers.  Reservation tip: make them for just before the Lion dance show.

Hollywood East Café
11160 Veirs Mill Rd. (Wheaton, Md)
240-290-9988
Online: hollywoodeastcafe.com
Lion Dance:  Feb, 21,  12:30 pm and 7:30 pm
Feb., 22 at 11am and 12:30 pm

Oriental East
1312 East West Hwy. (Silver Spring, Md)
301-608-0030
Online: orientaleast.com
Lion Dance: Feb. 21, between 12 pm and 1 pm

Best Fortune Restaurant
6249 Seven Corners Shopping Ctr (Falls Church, Va)
703-538-3333
Online: bestfortunedimsum.com
Lion Dance: Feb. 21, 11 am or 11:30 am

How do you plan to ring in the year of the sheep? Tell us in the comments section below. 

—Linda Bennett

Photos courtesy of Fristle via Flickr, Zengo DC via Facebook, Chinese New Year Festival Organization