Offbeat New York

Chinese New Year: Year of the Dragon

Every year, just after January 1st, attention turns to the upcoming festivities of the Chinese (Lunar) New Year. For 2012, it's the Year of the Dragon (the only one of the cycle that is named after a mythical creature, and one of great power).
Councilwoman Margaret S. Chin of New York City announced the start of the festivities. First I would like to wish you a happy and healthy start to the New Year.

Although most of us just finished our holiday celebrations, the Chinese-American community in New York will begin to celebrate the Lunar New Year on January 23rd. This year is the Year of the Dragon which promises to bring success, good fortune, and good luck to our community. I urge you to check out the many Lunar New Year celebrations in Chinatown, which kick off with the *Firecracker Ceremony* (Monday, January 23 from 11 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. in Roosevelt Park between Grand & Hester Streets) and the * 13th Annual Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade & Festival* (Sunday, January 29 from 11:30 a.m. - 4 pm, Canal Street South).

MOCA Tours and Events

Saturday, January 21, 2:30pm - 3:30pm What does the Year of the Dragon hold in store? Joanna C. Lee and Ken Smith (co-authors of the Pocket Chinese Almanac) return to decode the almanac's predictions for 2012 and share a range of New Year's traditions designed to protect your household.

Admission: $18/adult, $12/student, Free for MOCA members and seniors (65+). Each participant will receive a free copy of the Pocket Chinese Almanac (valued at $7). RSVP REQUIRED to

Chinese (Lunar) New Year is the liveliest and most important celebration in Chinese culture and Chinatown is the place to experience it. The Museum of the Chinese in America (MOCA) offers walking tour to take visitors through Chinatown to learn about holiday traditions and customs observed by Chinese households. Witness how the neighborhood transforms itself in preparation for the New Year and discover the characteristics that make this holiday unique. Tours are rain or shine, so dress warmly and wear comfortable shoes.

Tours are offered on:
Saturday, January 14, Sunday, January 15, Saturday, January 21, Sunday, January 22, Saturday, January 28, 11am & 1pm

Ticket: $20/adult, $15/ student or senior (65+), $8 for MOCA members, Free for children under 5. You can purchase tickets online at the MOCA website

On Wednesday, January 18th from 6:30pm 8pm join Nina Simonds, contributing editor for Gourmet Magazine and James Beard award-winning author of A Spoonful of Ginger and Spices of Life for the launch of her latest cookbook, Simple Asian Meals: Irresistibly Satisfying and Healthy Dishes for the Busy Cook. Simonds will share her insight on the Asian philosophy of foods and their "heating" (yang) and "cooling" (yin) effects on the body, and discuss how this can be integrated into everyday home cooking.

It will be followed by booksigning and reception/tasting.

Ticket: $15 admission; $30 includes book & tasting; free admission for MOCA members. RSVP REQUIRED to

Sunday, January 22, 10am - 5pm Join MOCA for a full-day of family festivities in celebration of Lunar New Year! MOCA will ring in the year of the Dragon with family-friendly tours, workshops, a lion dance, and arts and crafts activities. Admission: $10 General Admission; Free for MOCA members and children under age 1.


The highlight of Chinese New Year is always the annual parade. A colorful spectacle featuring floats, marching bands, lion and dragon dancers, antique cars, beauty queens, Asian & Hispanic musical performers, magicians and acrobats, and local organizations. The floats will feature various cultural performances and special guests. Over 6,000 individuals will march in the Parade, which will span every major street in Chinatown. This is the biggest winter parade in the East Coast and a national and international tourist attraction. Elected officials, celebrities and community leaders are scheduled to take part in the Parade, which will be covered by local, national and international media. An outdoor cultural festival will take place at the Sara Roosevelt Park by Canal St & Forsyth St that will feature booths and performances by musicians, dancers, and martial artists.

For the Year of the Dragon (2012) the parade will take place on Sunday, January, 29th, 2012. From 11:30AM 4:00PM enjoy the festival. The Parade starts at 1 PM.

The Parade will start at Little Italy and goes through the main streets of Lower Manhattan/Chinatown (Mott, Canal, Bowery, Chatham Square, East Broadway, Eldridge, Hester, Forsyth & Grand St.) and ends at the Lower East Side on Grand St by Sara Roosevelt Park.

Cultural Festival & Booth: Sara Roosevelt Park (Canal & Forsyth St)

Firecracker Ceremony

January 23rd marks the first day of the 2012 Lunar New Year, which will be kicked off with 600,000 rounds of colorful firecrackers, a traditional Lunar New Year practice believed to scare away evil spirits.

The Ceremony will take place 11AM 3PM at Sara Roosevelt Park (Intersection: Grand St, & Chrystie St.)

After opening ceremonies, a dozen Lion, Dragon and Unicorn dance troupes will march down the main streets of Chinatown (Mott, Bowery, East Broadway, Bayard, Elizabeth, and Pell) to help ring in the New Year.

A massive festival will be in the heart of Chinatown that will feature all-day cultural performances by traditional and contemporary Asian and Asian-American signers and dancers, along with food vendors and promotional booths.
Information for these events has been provided by Museum of the Chinese in America, and the Better Chinatown Society.
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