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Everything You Need to Know when Celebrating Chinese New Year in NYC

Chinese New Year 2016

Chinese New Year also known as Lunar New Year begins on Saturday, February 10, 2024 and it is a very exciting time to be in Chinatown. It is the year of the dragon and it is going to be so much fun. Here is our guide with everything that you need to know when celebrating Chinese New Year in New York City.

Various traditions and celebrations during Chinese New Year:

Lion/ Dragon Dances
Lion dances are a big highlight of Chinese New Year. The loud beat of the drum and the aggressive nature of the dance is said to scare off evil spirits. These lion dances can be found along Canal St, Mott St, Bayard St, Pell St and East Broadway. Chinese New Year lasts for 15 days but February 17 is Super Saturday and it is the best time to catch these performances. The big Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade & Festival is set to take place on Sunday, February 25, 1 PM, starting at Mott St & Hester St. This is the only time to see the dragon dances. These New Year festivities will draw people from all around the world and it is a must for celebrating Chinese New Year in New York City.

Red envelopes
Red envelopes are considered good luck and it is also used to ward away evil spirits. They are passed during special occasions such as weddings and Chinese New Year. The envelopes typically contain an even amount of money which it is symbolic for good luck. Also the number four is considered bad luck because when it is pronounced it sounds like the word death in Chinese. So the number four should not appear in the amount in any form such as 4 bills, $4, $104, etc.

Like the lion and dragon dances, firecrackers have been traditionally used to scare away evil spirits but they are unfortunately banned in New York City. However, there is one exception, the Firecracker Ceremony and Cultural Festival in Sara D. Roosevelt Park (which is between Grand St and Hester St). This will take place at the start of Chinese New Year, February 10, 11 AM – 3:30 PM.

Lunar New Year Festivals and Events
The Museum of Chinese in America aka MOCA (215 Centre St) is having their annual, family-friendly Chinese New Year festival on Saturday, February 17 from 2 – 5 PM. Their schedule this year is packed with fun performances, tasty treats, interesting workshops and more! Tickets are $5 per person.

Chinese New Year 2016 Lions

The Chinese New Year feast and the family get together is a big part of the celebration. Fortunately Chinatown is known for their restaurants so be sure to check out our top ten NYC Chinatown restaurants not to miss. In addition, here are a few more recommendations that will be perfect for a Chinese New Year dinner.

New Hong Wong Seafood Restaurant – 100 Bowery
New Hong Wong Seafood Restaurant is a go to place for locals. They have an exhaustive menu of authentic Chinese dishes along with various specials. They have hard to find Chinese specialties like abalone, goose intestines and fish maw soup.

Cafe Hong Kong – 51 Bayard St
Cafe Hong Kong is another favorite among locals and it is great place for family style dining. You can get all the popular Chinese New Year dishes here such as stir fried lobster, garlic chicken and pan fried flounder.

Congee Village – 100 Allen Street
Restaurants in Chinatown are going to be filled with families celebrating the Chinese New Year. Another option would be Congee Village which is just outside Chinatown. They have a variety of congee options such as abalone and frog leg. They also have a full Cantonese menu. Some of our favorites include razor clams in black bean sauce and sautéed bok choy.

Chinese New Year Dinner

We hope everyone is going to have a fun and festive Chinese New Year!