Chinese Lunar New Year

Confucius says dragons, monks and firecrackers await those who are willing to journey.

Photograph: Robert Sabo/New York Daily News

Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade & Festival
Even the Dalai Lama would attend this joyous parade, featuring beauty queens, marching bands, dance groups, colorful floats and antique cars. “Every ten minutes, we have people rotating inside the lion costumes,” says Alan Chow, founding director of the Chinese-American Arts Council. “Even the young ones can only last so long.” Follow the dancers to Columbus Park for an electronic fireworks showcase. FREE Parade begins at Canal and Mott Sts (212-431-9740, ccbanyc.org). Feb 1 noon--5pm.

Flushing Lunar New Year Parade
Avoid the tourists by partying in Flushing, where there’ll be steel drummers, kung fu masters, dragons and 3,000 marchers. FREE Parade begins at Union St and 37th Ave and ends at Main St and 39th Ave, Flushing, Queens (718-463-7700). Jan 31 11am--1pm.

Can’t make these? There are two more Chinatown parades: February 1 from noon to 3pm and February 8 from noon to 5pm. Visit explorechinatown.org for more info.

Chinese Opera
It only sounds like whining to the uneducated ear, we swear. The city’s oldest Chinese opera club regularly hosts fresh-off-the-boat singers. FREE Chinese Community Center Theater, Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, 62 Mott St between Bayard and Canal Sts (212-431-9740, ccbanyc.org). Weekends through Apr 13.

Chinese New Year Splendor
The annual program, which was banned but we still like the pretty spectacle. 1260 Sixth Ave at 50th St (212-307-7171, radiocity.com). Sat 24 at 4, 8pm; Sun 25 at 1, 5pm. $48--$128.

Lunar New Year chanting service
Cleanse your karma at this Mahayana Temple. “We have a few books in English to follow along, but just watch it like a concert and remember: Noble silence!” says temple volunteer Molly Chen. Be sure to grab a $1 paper fortune on your way out. FREE 133 Canal St between Bowery and Chrystie St (212-925-8787). Mon 26 10am--noon.

Another enlightening option: Sign up for classes in tai chi or Buddhism at the USA Shaolin Temple, which counts RZA from Wu-Tang among its disciples. We stroke our gray beards in approval. 446 Broadway between Grand and Howard Sts, second floor (212-358-7876, usashaolintemple.org). Times and prices vary.

Lunar New Year Celebration and Flower Market Go gung ho over the acrobats, rice-hat dancers and greenery at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. “Calamondin oranges and loquats are thought to bring wealth for the New Year,” says Mark Fisher, the BBG’s director of horticulture. 900 Washington Ave at Eastern Pkwy, Brooklyn (718-623-7200, bbg.org). Sun 25 10am--4:30pm. $8, seniors and students $4, children under 12 free.

Happy Puppetry Company from Taiwan Forget squawking children—in China, puppet shows are for royalty. Take a workshop with Taiwanese masters, and then watch them perform. Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Blvd at Main St, Flushing, Queens (718-463-7700, flushing-townhall.org). Sat 24 at 1pm, $2--$6.

New Year’s Day Firecracker Ceremony & Cultural Festival To ward off evil spirits, this fest explodes 600,000 firecrackers. Other draws include a magical dragon and unicorn dance troupes. FREE Sara D. Roosevelt Park, Chrystie St at Delancey St (explorechinatown.com). Mon 26 11:30am--2:30pm.

Fifth Annual Lantern Festival Light up your life by checking out more than 100 handcrafted dengs, many of which have been created by schoolchildren and community members. And look, Ma, no lead paint! FREE Market St between Broadway and Henry St (explore-chinatown.org). Feb 9, time TBD.




When in Chinatown... »
Medicate as the Chinese do. We test three herbal cures for the winter blahs. Yum, antlers!