One of New York City’s most spirited events kicks off next Tuesday: the Lunar New Year. With multiple Chinatowns and Asian communities across the five boroughs, there is no shortage of events to celebrate the nearly two-week long holiday, which is said to have originated more than 4,000 years ago. While the most well-known festivity is the colorful parade in Lower Manhattan’s Chinatown, other Lunar New Year events in Flushing, Sunset Park, and Staten Island should not be overlooked. Embrace the Year of the Pig, the 12th zodiac animal said to signal good fortune, with lantern decorating events, dumpling and noodle-making classes, traditional dance and song, and sparkling firecracker ceremonies.
New York City’s annual free Lunar New Year parade in Chinatown continues to be one of the most celebrated events in the city. Run by Better Chinatown USA, the parade route runs from Mott & Canal to Chatham Square to East Broadway towards Manhattan Bridge and ending at the Sara D. Roosevelt Park. Expect Year of the Pig-inspired festivities and food starting at 1 p.m. and wrapping up at 4:30 p.m.
The Lunar New Year starts with a sparkle at the annual firecracker ceremony. There, enjoy live performances, crafts, and food vendors at Sara D. Roosevelt Park at Grand Street. The free event includes a colorful firework presentation, which is said to ward off evil spirits.
The New York Philharmonic observes the New Year with Fire Ritual, a new violin concerto by Oscar winner Tan Dun. Tickets for the performance at David Geffen Hall range in price from $35-$115.
Ring in the New Year at the first Chinatown neighborhood in Queens. The parade kicks off at 11 a.m. at Union Street and 37th Street in Flushing, where you’ll see large crowds enjoy brightly decorated costumes and floats. According to the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce, the reception includes raffle and prizes, a fencing demonstration by Queens Fencing Club, and a K-pop medley and Zumba set. Coffee and refreshments will be offered before the parade at St. George’s Church before the parade.
An ode to the Chinese tradition of celebrating the New Year at temple fairs, Flushing Town Hall is hosting their own spin-off of the classic. For $5, guests can enjoy live performances, lantern making, and yummy bites. There are two timed sessions, at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Feb. 17.
Korean Lunar New Year
Feb. 2, 1 p.m.- 4 p.m.
Staten Island Museum at Snug Harbor
A Korean Lunar New Year celebration is being held at the Staten Island Museum, with tickets just $8 for adults, $5 for seniors and students, and $2 for children under age 12. The event includes face painting, ancient papermaking Hanji Art, Korean fan dance, and plenty of beloved Korean food favorites, like Tteok (rice cakes) and Mandu (dumplings).
The Queens Botanical Garden is celebrating the Year of the Pig with themed crafts, workshops, performances, and more. Plus, the garden is hosting a special “lucky” plant sale, with jade plants and peace lilies offered.
The garden is providing a tour of the Steinhardt Conservatory as a way to explore Asian fruits and plants that are typically associated with the Lunar New Year. During the hour-long event, tour-goers will see citrus, bamboo, and ginger.
Perhaps a lesser known event in the U.S., Losar, or the Tibetan New Year, is celebrated across the Himalayas. The Rubin Museum of Art on West 17th Street is hosting a Year of the Earth Pig, as it’s described in the Tibetan calendar. Co-presented with the YindaYin Coaching Center, the event will have a demonstration of how Losar is celebrated in Tibet through traditional dances and costumes.
Brookfield Place is hosting an event on the afternoon of Feb. 9, in a partnership with the New York Chinese Cultural Center. The Lunar New Year event kicks off with a festive Lion Dance that brings revelers into the Winter Garden for a performance of traditional Chinese dance and music. The event is free, but seating is first-come, first served.
There’s an event for all tastes at the Met this Lunar New Year. The museum is hosting an all-day celebration, offering festivities like a parade through the Great Hall and art projects, to a bubble tea gathering and hand-pulled noodle demonstration. The festival is free with museum admission.
Carnegie Hall is hosting a performance that fuses Chinese and American cultures. Chinese pianist Jie Chen and Shanghai soprano Quan Chen join returning performers tenor Dr. William Weimin Cai and violinist Deni Bonet. Tickets cost between $28 and $100, with special discounts available to students and seniors.
A Chinatown landmark, the 1887-built Eldridge Street Synagogue, is participating in the neighborhood celebration with a day of Lunar New Year crafts. The team at Think!Chinatownwill lead a free lantern decorating class, teaching participants how to stencil designs using paint and ink, stamps, or brushwork. The beautifully-designed lanterns will be on display in the bamboo garden at 5 Essex Street.
Brooklyn Public Library
Feb. 9, 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
Prospect Heights, Brooklyn
The Brooklyn Public Library’s central location wants you to wear something red and celebrate the arrival of the Year of the Pig. The library is hosting acclaimed Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company for an afternoon of colorful costumes, an ancient cultural dance, and traditional Chinese music. The free event will be hosted in the Dweck Center, with seating first come, first served.
The Queens Library means business this holiday season. From the start of the New Year with the parade in Flushing to the last day of festivities, branches around the borough are hosting Lunar New Year events. Some highlights of the Lunar line-up include lantern crafts, floral arranging classes, history lessons, origami, red envelope crafts, and Chinese and Korean food classes. See the full list of events here.