Everything You Need to Know when Celebrating Chinese New Year in NYC
The Chinese New Year also known as the Lunar New Year begins on Sunday, January 22, 2023 and it is a very exciting time to be in Chinatown. It is the year of the rabbit and it is going to be so much fun. Here is our guide with everything that you need to know about celebrating Chinese New Year in New York City.
Various traditions and celebrations during the Chinese New Year:
Lion/ Dragon Dances
There will be parades throughout Chinatown, throughout the day and they will draw people from all around the world. The highlight of these parades is definitely the lion and dragon dances. The loud beat of the drum and the aggressive nature of the dance is said to scare off evil spirits. The Chinese New Year lasts for 15 days so typically there will be various lion and dragon dances during this time, especially on the weekends (February 4, 10 AM to 7 PM is Super Saturday for lion dances). These lion and dragons dances can be found along Mott St, Bayard St, Pell St and East Broadway. The big Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade & Festival is set to take place on February 12, 1 PM, starting at Mott St & Hester St.
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 the 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 the Chinese New Year, January 22, 11 AM – 3:30 PM.
Lunar New Year Fairs and Events
The Museum of Chinese in America (215 Centre St) will have a month long celebration of Chinese New Year called MOCA Fest. Throughout the month, you can find lion dancing, live music, arts and other fun events. Also this year there will be a Lunar New Year Fair at the East Broadway Mall (88 E Broadway), January 28 – 29. This will feature workshops, local vendors, artists and more.
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.
We hope everyone is going to have a fun and festive Chinese New Year!