Year of the Rabbit
We're eagerly getting ready to celebrate the Lunar New Year which starts on January 22, 2023 (Chinese New Year) and ends on February 9, 2024 (Chinese New Year's Eve). This year is the Year of the Rabbit. Specifically the Water Rabbit. Congrats all you Rabbits and Rabbits-to-Be! You Rock!
The Rabbit is a symbol of longevity, peace and prosperity and 2023, according to China Highlights, is expected to be a year of hope. We can only hope this is true! Rabbits are thought to be vigilant, witty, quick minded and ingenious.
With the Chinese Lunar calendar, each year is associated with one of 12 animals (Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig) and each animal has one of 5 elements associated with it (Water, Wood, Earth, Fire, Gold). This means each combo is a once in a 60 year occurance! Water Rabbits, we assure you, you are in good company. Michael Jordan is a Water Rabbit (and you thought he was a GOAT). . . Note, I had to fact-check that as how could Michael Jordan possibly be pushing 60?
There are a bunch of activiites happening downtown to celebrate the Lunar New Year--both South Street Seaport and the Oculus have multi-day events that will be fun for families.
At South Street Seaport, there is a Lion Dance performance as well as calligraphy and lion chain workshops.
- Lion Dance: On Saturday, January 21, a traditional Lion Dance will begin outside of the Tin Building at 12:30pm and wind its way to the Heineken Riverdeck on the north side of Pier 17. The Lion Dance is a traditional Chinese dance performed around the Lunar New Year where two people manipulate a large lion puppet, one at the head and the other at the tail. It shows strength in physicality as well as spirit. Musicians flank the lion (cymbols, drums) replicating the lion's roar. Gold and red is in abundance in this beautiful, celebratory dance.
- Calligraphy Workshops: The Seaport Museum hosts Chinese Calligraphy Workshops on Saturday January 21. Try your hand at the intricate brush strokes to form simple characters and learn more about the evolution of the art.
- Chinese Lion Chain Stringing: The Seaport Museum hosts a family friendly lion chain link making activity using nautical flag prints. January 21-22 11:00am-5:00pm.
At Westfield/The Oculus, there will be lights and activities from January 23-January 29.
- Red and Gold Lighting: The Oculus and One World Trade Center will be illuminated in red and gold in celebration of the New Year. January 20-22, 4:00pm - 10:00pm.
- The Asian Cultural Center celebrates the holiday with a variety of gifts, activities and photo booths. January 23, 12:00pm-3:00pm.
- The New York Chinese Cultural Center hosts a performance of the traditional Lion Dance. January 28, 12:00pm and 1:00pm
- The New York Chinese Cultural Center hosts a traditional music and dance performance. January 29, 4:00pm
MOCA: Reserve ahead for the Lunar New Year Family Festival, a free day of fun at the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) with Lion Dances, Dragon’s Beard Candy Making Demonstrations, a Whirling and Twirling Ribbons Workshop and more. January 21, 2:30pm-5:30pm. Lunar New Year Family Festival! – Museum of Chinese in America (mocanyc.org)
Brooklyn Children’s Museum: Hop on over to the Brooklyn Children’s Museum on January 28th from 10:00am-5:00pm and enjoy storytelling, live music, calligraphy workshops and a rooftop lion dance parade led by the Chinatown Community Young Lions. Celebrate Lunar New Year - Brooklyn Children's Museum (brooklynkids.org)
Prospect Park Zoo: Every day in February, the folks at the Prospect Park Zoo are celebrating this year’s honored animal: the rabbit. Learn about rabbits and learn more about the Wildlife Conservation Society’s work to keep our hopping friends (and loads of other species) happy and healthy! Lunar Zoo Year – Year of the Rabbit - Prospect Park Zoo
Queens Botanical Garden: How excited were we when we saw that the team at the Queens Botanical Garden had tapped none other than Miffy to help celebrate the Year of the Rabbit. On Saturday, January 28 from 12:00-4:00pm, the garden will host lion dance performances, zodiac crafts, demonstrations, storytimes, a lucky plant sale and more! With Miffy at the helm this will no doubt be an exciting time! Lunar New Year at the Garden - Queens Botanical Garden
MET: The Metropolitan Museum of Art is also celebrating the Lunar New Year with special programming for all ages! On Saturday January 21 from 11:00am-5:00pm, the museum will host performances, interactive activities and artist led workshops. More details to come! Lunar New Year Festival: The Year of the Rabbit | The Metropolitan Museum of Art (metmuseum.org)
Chinatown Parade: Of course the grandest event in the city is the official Chinatown Parade. A melee of color and noise, this fun event draws quite a crowd! Think giant dragons marching to cymbals and drums. Definitely get a bite after at one of the 200 local restaurants! Parade route runs from Mott and Canal to Chatham Square to East Broadway and then toward the Manhattan Bridge. It ends at Eldridge and Forsyth next to Sara D. Roosevelt Park. Sunday Feb 12.