Happy Year of the Dragon!
Monday, January 23 marks the Lunar New Year, or Tết in Vietnamese. Yes, believe it or not, other cultures besides the Chinese celebrate the Lunar New Year. It will be the year of the dragon, which is considered the luckiest sign. In fact many Asian babies will be born this year! (But not from my oven, thank you.)
Last year, we didn't hit any local celebrations, but this year there's plenty to choose from. Everyone is welcome to these events, whether you're Asian or not. Take your family out for a fun cultural experience. With plenty of good food! Make sure you have a bite of banh chung, a traditional Vietnamese treat for Lunar New Year.
Here are some Lunar New Year celebrations in the Baltimore and Washington, DC area.
Weekend of January 21-23
Join Port Discovery in Baltimore on January 21 for their Chinese New Year Celebration. In addition to their exhibits, there will be crafts, food tastings, storytelling and of course, lion dances. All these activities are included with your admission ticket. Tickets are $13.95 for everyone ages 2 and up. Those 2 and under are free.
Rockville Town Square's Lunar New Year Celebration starts off with a parade. From 11AM-4PM on January 21, head to Rockville for an Asian street market, VisArts exhibitions, street performances, and plenty of children's activities. Event is free.
Get a close up view during the Chinese Lion Dance performance by Washington Chinese Youth Club at Montgomery County's Aspen Hill Library. Show up before the show starts at 3PM to grab a good seat. Check my video of last year's performance at White Oak Library. Event is free. Montongomery County Library has even more Lunar New Year events throughout February.
Eden Center in Falls Church, VA has two days of Tết celebrations, first on January 22 and another on the actual new year, January 23. On Sunday there are two lion dance performances and Monday includes a flag ceremony. While you're there, make sure you hit one of the restaurants for authentic Vietnamese food and grab some banh mi to take home with you. Bonus points from me if you bring me some banh mi!
Weekend of January 28-29
Bundle up and head out early on January 29 for a good spot for the DC Chinatown's Chinese New Year Parade. We've attended this parade in the past and it never fails to excite the kids. There's plenty of lion dances, performers of all sorts and lots of colorful costumes. Let's hope it won't be freezing this year! The parade starts at 2PM. Visit the website for route information. I highly recommend taking the Metro to the Gallery Place-Chinatown stop. After the parade, head to one of the many Asian restaurants for a new year's dinner.
Creative Cauldron in Falls Church, VA is presenting a Vietnamese Lunar New Year (Tet) Community Celebration at 2PM on January 29. Audiences will be treated to five unique dances, musical selections on traditional 16 string instruments and a fashion show demonstrating traditional Vietnamese costume and dress. Tickets start at $12. For more information, visit the website.
How will you celebrate the Lunar New Year?
If you know of other activities in the DC or Baltimore area, please let me know! I'll add them to the list.
Photo by Lifeless_Ordinary via Creative Commons.