It’s our favorite time of year again — the Chinese, or lunar, new year. It is the Year of the Ram, ushering in artistic potential and creativity. As usual, The Chinese Chamber of Commerce has worked in conjunction with community organizations to host a spectacular festival.
Although most people consider the parade the focal point of the festivities, tonight, Thursday February 18, Thien Hau Temple (750 Yale Street) will start the holiday off with traditional incense burning, offerings to deities, dramatic lion dances, and 500,000 firecrackers lit by the 2015 Miss Chinatown Queen and Court. That’s right, 500,000 firecrackers. And beauty queens. This ceremony takes place 11:00pm – Midnight.
On Saturday, Feb. 21st, come watch the 116th Annual Golden Dragon Parade, with floats, decked-out cars, dancers, bands, and the crowd-pleasing dragon dancers. Click here for the parade route. The parade starts at 1:00pm.
The Chinese New Year Festival runs all day Saturday from noon-8:00pm. Enjoy Chinese acrobats, martial arts, children’s activities and workshops. The always-exciting Culinary Stage hosted by Eddie Lin will run from 4pm-8pm with a cooking demo by Felix Fang and a special live edition of Cutthroat Chinatown with host Chef Jet Tila. Not only that, “Yarn Bombing will host a special community engagement craft workshop to build a giant sheep from individual pompoms in honor of this year’s zodiac animal.”
As always, Chinatown is a great mecca for food. Besides the traditional Chinese restaurants like Golden City, Won Kok and Hop Louie, a number of pioneers have set up exciting new restaurants in Chinatown. Although we lament the loss of Starry Kitchen, Pok Pok, Chego, Little Jewel of New Orleans and the newly opened Ramen Champ are all great places to hit up. You can also check out the dim sum at the rising phoenix of Empress Pavilion. There will even be booths and food trucks so you will not go hungry.
Dumplings, Jet Tila, firecrackers, beauty queens and a giant pom-pom sheep? How can you possibly miss this? Just remember, don’t touch the monkey.