Celebrate Chinese New Year in D.C.

Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Library

Celebrate Chinese New Year in D.C.

Celebrate Chinese New YearFriday, Jan. 31 is the first day in the 15 day celebration of Chinese New Year this year - the Year of the Horse!

But festivities usually begin the night before on New Year's Eve with a big meal with family. The meal typically features lucky foods such as oranges, whole fish, noodles, dumplings, leafy greens, and nian gao (special New Year's sticky cakes). Other traditions include wearing brand new clothes on New Year's Day, paying respects to ancestors, watching a New Year's parade complete with an awe-inspiring dragon dance, and enjoying fireworks displays. Children have the most fun because they can wish their elders a happy New Year and in return receive a red envelope with money (or treats) inside!

Come celebrate the New Year at Watha T./Shaw's Chinese New Year Party for children and families on Friday, Jan. 31! Other family-friendly Chinese New Year events in D.C. include the Smithsonian American Art Museum's Chinese New Year Family Festival on Jan. 25 and the annual Chinatown New Year Parade on Feb. 2. 

If you'd like to learn more about Chinese New Year, My First Chinese New Year by Karen Katz and My Chinese New Year are good options for sharing with the under five crowd. Children from preschool through first grade can enjoy a BookFlix video book of Karen Chinn's Sam and the Lucky Money

For older school age children, National Geographic's Celebrate Chinese New Year by Carolyn Otto has more in-depth information, combined with beautiful photos and craft ideas, and Crouching Tiger by Ying Chang Compestine incorporates New Year's traditions into a touchingly nuanced story about family and cultural identity. 

However you choose to celebrate, have a very happy Year of the Horse! Xin Nian Kuai Le! Gong Xi Fa Cai!