How to celebrate Chinese New Year at home

Traditionally a time when thousands of families would flock to city centres around the world for the annual dragon parade, this year’s celebrations are going to be at home. It’s not all bad news though, this year’s event will turn online to display Chinese folk culture and activities related to intangible cultural heritage and present performances by artists from both home and abroad, according to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

The celebration, which will last till Feb. 26, falls in various forms including virtual exhibits, online concerts, artistical gala and micro-video clips.

Chinese New Year itself – also known as Lunar New Year or Spring Festival – falls on Friday, February 12. The preparations start seven days before Chinese New Year’s Eve. Many celebration activities for this period are traditional customs, but some are quite new…

Here are the key dates:

  • February 11 – Chinese New Year’s Eve

This is often viewed as the most important celebration as it includes the family reunion dinner, and staying up until midnight.

  • February 12 – New Year’s Day

New Year’s Day is spent visiting family, and giving presents.

  • February 26 – Lantern Festival

This day marks the end of the Chinese New Year when lanterns are lit and hung, and people watch dragon dances in the street.

Photo by Kai-Chieh Chan on

Meanwhile, in the United States, the Smithsonian American Art Museum is offering a free Lunar New Year Virtual Celebration in partnership with the Chinese Cultural Institute and the Chinese Embassy. This will be a great opportunity to enjoy streamed video performances and demonstrations of traditional Chinese crafts and Lunar New Year traditions.

You can also find two weeks of celebrations on

Below you can find a list of virtual events happening during theses days:

Brooklyn Public Library
Various dates and times
Free – On the 13th, there’s a musical celebration with the Ba Ban Chinese Music Society, and on the 22nd, you can learn how to make your own dance prop and perform a traditional dance.

Lunar New Year Virtual Family Festival at MOCA
February 11-19
The Museum of Chinese in America is ringing in the Year of the Ox with more than a week of Lunar New Year festivities including crafts, storytimes, live performances, and more. More details will be announced soon.

Year of the Golden Ox with the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company
February 11-13
Free; donations encouraged
This unique dance company combines the Chinese cultural traditions founder Nai-Ni Chen studied in Taiwan with the modern and contemporary dance she studied in New York. To celebrate the Lunar New Year, the company is offering a three-day dance and music festival that includes traditional dances performed at the Chinese New Year (the Lion Dance and the Dragon Dance), a colorful folk dance, and instrumental music featuring Erhu, Ruan, Pipa, Chinese Opera, and Kuaiban.

China Institute’s Chinese New Year Family Festival
February 13 at 11am
The China Institute is kicking off the Year of the Ox with the virtual edition of their signature New Year Celebration for families. The festival opens with a lion dance and puppet performance followed by New Year-themed workshops and activities including dumpling making and lantern painting.

Flushing Town Hall’s Chinese Temple Bazaar
Sunday, February 14: 2pm
For the first time, Flushing Town Hall is taking their Lunar New Year event virtual, streamed on YouTube. It will feature traditional dances by the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company, a new Chinese hand puppet production by Chinese Theatre Works, paper-cutting, classic new year dish demonstrations (for sweet and savory rice balls, a meatball dish called “braised lion head,” and a whole fish), and more.

Brooklyn Public Library’s Community Cooking: Lunar New Year
February 18: 2pm
BPL will be streaming live on Instagram, celebrating the new year with a special family recipe for Tibetan momos (dumplings). A week before the session, you can find the recipe, a list of ingredients, and the tools you will need on their website.

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