Gung Hay Fat Choy! Chinese New Year falls on Sunday, February 10 in 2013, and what’s the point of living in the city with America’s largest Chinatown if you don’t get out there and celebrate the Year of the Snake with Lion dances, fireworks, and little red envelopes stuffed with money?  Of course, this being New York, parades and scrumptious foods aren’t the only game in town. Check out what else there is to do for the holiday, specifically for families:

Lunar New Year Festival
New York Chinese Cultural Center starts the festivities off early in Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn!


On February 2 and 3 from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, The Children’s Museum of the Arts invites you to join guest artists for hands-on workshops and dazzling performances.  Design your own snake!  Try origami, calligraphy and paper cutting!  Watch a sword dance!  A ribbon dance!  A handkerchief dance!


But, the multicultural fun isn’t limited to the island of Manhattan.  On Saturday, February 9, Queens Theater is the place to be for the Lunar New Year Festival 2013, and an introduction to paper cutting, dough figurines and calligraphy, followed by a performance from the Peking Opera… and the rock band, Hsu-name, who perform their modern music on a classic, Chinese instrument, the Erhu.  Both events are free, but reservations are required.


Finally, Brooklyn gets their spot in the sun on Sunday, February 10 at Brooklyn Millennium High School for an encore of the Queens celebration.

Lunar New Year Dance Sampler
Flushing Town Hall
137-35 Northern Boulevard (at the corner of Linden Place)
More fun in Queens!  If the Peking Opera isn’t your thing, how about the razzle-dazzle of dance?  Artists from not just China, but also Korea, Taiwan, India, Egypt, Colombia and more will be featured in this free performance at 1pm.  A note about Chinese New Year celebrations in Flushing for 2013.  Though they also hold an annual parade for the community, this year, the MTA will not be restoring weekend 7 train service, meaning revelers will have a harder time getting there.  Click the link for alternate routes.

Express Your Inner Snake
Museum of Chinese in America
215 Centre Street
On Saturday, February 2 from 11:00am to 6:00pm, families have a choice of either touring the museum’s galleries, or heading outside for a pre-New Year’s walk through Chinatown with special emphasis on the preparations taking place.  Plus, don’t miss the Lion Dance, Mandarin lesson, spring character making, paper fish, flower collages, and much, much more.  Children under 5 visit for free, and reservations are not required.

Children’s Museum of Manhattan
212 West 83rd Street
Another early bird is the Children’s Museum of Manhattan.  Starting on Friday, February 8, tots under the age of 4 are invited to come in and make their very own Year of the Snake Puppet.  In addition, on Sunday, February 10, those age 5 and over can construct intricate Chinese lanterns in honor of the holiday.

Moon Over Manhattan: Lunar New Year Family Day
Asia Society
725 Park Avenue
Get yet another head start on the festivities on Saturday, February 9 from 1:00pm to 4:00pm with an assortment of fun, including arts and crafts, songs and dances, and a Kung Fu demonstration.  Tickets are only $5 for kids, and Asia Society Dual Family members get in for free!

China Institute Family Workshops
125 East 65th Street
On Sunday, February 10, the entire family can come watch a free lion dance, followed by a series of paid workshops for children ages 5-10.  Learn to paste couplets on your doorstep, cut paper and, as an extra special treat, make dumplings!  Pork, chicken and vegetarian options will be available for wrapping and, of course, eating.  Pre-registration is required.

Better Chinatown Society
Here, the New Year is so nice, they celebrate it twice!  On Sunday, February 10 at 11:00 am come to Sara Roosevelt Park at Grand and Forsyth Streets for a Firecracker Ceremony and Cultural Festival.  If 600,000 (yes, that’s six hundred thousand) rounds of firecrackers aren’t enough, there will also be festive drumming.  Then, once your ears stop ringing, return the following Sunday at the same time for the Lunar Festival and Parade which, to keep with the theme of American multiculturalism will actually start in Little Italy, then wind through the streets for a block party replete with vendors, food and an overall feast for the senses.

How will you be celebrating the Year of the Snake? 

— Alina Adams

Images courtesy respective websites.