Chinese New Year also known as the Lunar New Year begins on Friday, February 16 and it is a very exciting time to be in Chinatown. It is the year of the dog and it is going to be a festive weekend. 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 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. Lion and dragons dances can be found along Mott St, Bayard St, Pell St and East Broadway, starting around 1 PM. In addition to the weekend of February 16-18, Chinese New Year lasts for 15 days so there will be various lion and dragon dances for the next two weeks. The big Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade & Festival starts on Sunday, February 25, 1:00 PM.
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 in Sara D. Roosevelt Park (which is between Grand St and Hester St), February 16 between 11 AM – 3:30 PM.
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.
Amazing 66 – 66 Mott St
Amazing 66 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, pan fried flounder and Peking duck.
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!