10 Ways to Celebrate Lunar New Year Across the West
Festivals and celebrations to ring in the Year of the Dragon.
True to its name, the Lunar New Year is marked by the second new moon after the winter solstice, and it typically falls between late January and early February. Though it’s referred to as both the Chinese New Year and Lunar New Year, this is a massive celebration for people with East and Southeast Asian heritage. Traditions related to the Lunar New Year involve food, paper, and more.
This year, many people are gathering for ceremonies and parades on, before, and after Saturday, February 10, for the Year of the Dragon. Groups and cities across the West are hosting their own events, many of which are free and open to the public. So, if you are looking for plans to ring in the Lunar New Year, here are a few of the most popular festivities in several Western states:
Phoenix, Arizona: Phoenix Chinese Week Culture and Cuisine Festival
There was a two-year hiatus during the pandemic, but the 34th annual event will take place February 3-4 at Steele Indian School Park. Attendees can expect to see lion and dragon dances, musical performances, a tea garden, and more. Admission is free.
Butte, Montana: Mai Wah Society & Museum Chinese New Year Parade
Dedicated to honoring Asian heritage in Montana, the Mai Wah Society celebrates the Lunar New Year with an annual parade—known as the “shortest, loudest, and sometimes coldest” parade in the state. This year’s event will start at the Butte-Silver Bow Courthouse at 3 p.m. on Saturday, February 10.
Denver, Colorado: 2024 Colorado Chinese New Year Celebration
The Chinese American Foundation of Colorado and Denver Chinese School invite Coloradans to join them in their 20th annual Lunar New Year celebration on Saturday, February 10. Everything kicks off at 10:30 a.m., and there are plenty of free cultural experiences to enjoy. For even more fun, the Celebration Show costs $25 or $50, depending on your type of admission.
San Francisco, California: Alaska Airlines Chinese New Year Festival & Parade
Recognized as one of the best parades in the world, Alaska Airlines’ annual event in downtown San Francisco is one of many celebrations happening in February. The festivities begin on Saturday, February 3 with the Flower Market Fair, and then actress Awkwafina will serve as the Grand Marshal during the nighttime parade on February 24.
Honolulu, Hawaii: Night in Chinatown Festival & Lunar New Year Parade
Honolulu’s Chinatown will feature lion dances, food, martial arts demonstrations, and more on Saturday, February 3. Chinatown 808 has partnered with American Savings Bank to host the all-day event from 9 a.m.-10 p.m.
Murray, Utah: Utah Chinese New Year Celebration
The organization Utah Chinese is gearing up for one of their biggest events of the year. The celebration starts on Saturday, February 3, and admission is free. Attendees can participate in Tai Chi sessions, learn about Chinese calligraphy, and more.
Anchorage, Alaska: Alaska Chinese Association Chinese New Year
The Alaska Chinese Association (ACA) has planned their largest event of the year on Saturday, February 10, from 12-4 p.m., which typically welcomes about 800 participants for a day of live performances, crafts for kids, and traditional Chinese food. Admission is $15 for adult ACA members, $25 for non-member adults, and $5 for seniors and children.
Portland, Oregon: Lunar New Year Dragon and Lantern Viewing
Prepare for Portland’s Lan Su Chinese Garden to glow with hanging red lanterns each night from February 9-March 2. In addition to the lantern viewing, you can also experience a traditional Chinese dragon dance procession and other cultural activities. Dates and times vary and capacity is limited, so check the garden’s website and purchase tickets before you make the trip. Tickets are $35 for members, $45 for non-members, $15 for children ages 3-11, and free for infants (0-2 years old).
Boise, Idaho: Idaho Chinese Organization Lunar New Year Celebration
On Saturday, February 3, at 10 a.m., the Idaho State Museum and Idaho Chinese Organization are welcoming guests to honor traditions involving crafts, food, and live performances. The Lunar New Year festivities also include two special pop-up exhibits featuring artwork and the history of Boise’s Chinatown.
Seattle, Washington: Chinatown International District Lunar New Year Celebration
Toward the end of February, Seattle’s Chinatown will be home to an immersive cultural experience with more than 40 spots along the “Food Walk,” traditional performances, and much more. On Saturday, February 24, you can expect to see vendor booths along S King St. and the live performances will take place on the main stage at Hing Hay Park.