Happy Chinese New Year! The Year of the Horse
The Chinese New Year is a 15-day event that starts with the New Moon on the first day of the new year and ends on the full moon 15 days later. The first day of the year can fall anywhere between late January and the middle of February. The celebration includes dedicating each year to a specific animal. The Dragon, Horse, Monkey, Rat, Boar, Rabbit, Dog, Rooster, Ox, Tiger, Snake, and Ram are the twelve animals that are part of this tradition.
In 2014, on the Western calendar, the start of the New Year falls on January 31st and is The Year of the Horse. During this important celebration in the Asian culture, it is traditional to wear red, meant to ward off evil spirits.
The following is a guide, compliments of about.com, to the 2014 Chinese New Year events in Washington DC, Maryland and Northern Virginia.
- Gaithersburg Chinese New Year Events
January 27-February 9, 2014. Lakeforest Mall, 701 Russell Avenue, Gaithersburg, Maryland. View beautiful Chinese New Year decorations and exhibits throughout the mall. Live entertainment (weekends, noon-5:00 p.m.) includes traditional lion and dragon dances, folk dances and martial arts demonstrations. Demonstrations and workshops include flower/bonsai arrangement, arts and crafts, painting and games.
- Chinese New Year at Montgomery County Public Libraries
Thirteen branches of the public libraries welcome the new year with a variety of programs. Music, dance and special performances feature the sights, sounds and cultures of China, Korea and Vietnam. Programs include introduction to customs behind the Lunar New Year, traditional dances, hands-on art activities, puppet shows, healing and martial arts demonstrations including tai-chi and kung fu, calligraphy, crafts, customs, Chinese yo-yo, workshops and children’s activities, and the traditional Chinese lion dance. For specific schedules, visit the Montgomery County Public Libraries website
In Washington, DC
- Chinese New Year Parade and Festival in Washington, DC
February 2, 2014, 2-4:30 p.m. Chinatown – on H Street, NW, between 6th and 8th Streets. Each year a parade is held in Chinatown to celebrate the Chinese New Year. The event features the traditional Chinese Dragon Dance, Kung Fu demonstrations and live musical entertainment.
Celebrate from 12-5 p.m. at the Chinatown Lunar New Year Festival, Chinatown Community Cultural Center, 616 H Street, NW Washington, DC. Programs and activities will include: live music and dance performances, traditional Chinese calligraphy, children’s crafts, face painting, tai chi and kung fu demonstrations, lion dancing, poetry readings, film screenings, art and photo exhibits, raffle prizes, New Year souvenirs, free giveaways, and much more. Special guest performances by: Wong People and students of Yu Ying Public Charter School.
- Chinese New Year Dining Specials in Washington DC
Throughout the month of February, many restaurants in the Washington DC area offer specials in celebration of the Chinese New Year. Celebrate the “Year of the Horse” with special tasting menus.
In Northern Virginia
- Chinese New Year Festival – Falls Church
February 1, 2014, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Luther Jackson Middle School, 3020 Gallows Road, Falls Church, VA. The event, hosted by the Asian Community Service Center, offers performances from China, Korea, India, Thailand, Vietnam, among others including the beautiful Chinese sword dance; Dragon Parade, fashion show, Asian plant art, Asian foods, Chinese cooking demo, teaching of Chinese characters, crafts, kids activities and more. FREE Admission.
- Fair Oaks Mall Lunar New Year Celebration
February 1-2, 2014, 1-6 p.m. Fair Oaks Mall, 11750 Fair Oaks, Fairfax, VA. Ceremonies, performances and exhibitions will be presented from each day, with most of the events centered in the Fair Oaks Mall Grand Court. Presented by the Washington Hai Hua Community Center, the event will feature traditional Chinese dragon dances; music and dance performances; martial arts demonstrations; children’s crafts; and a special lantern festival. More than 200 performers will participate in this year’s Lunar New Year festival, representing such countries and regions as China, Korea, India, Thailand, Vietnam, Mongolia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Polynesia and the 50th state of Hawaii.