If you've been seeing signs welcoming the "Year of the Rat" (or "Year of the Pizza Rat"), that's because it's Lunar New Year time. On Saturday, more than a billion people who follow the lunar calendar are celebrating the start of the new year, and for Chinese people, it will be the year 4718—the Year of the Rat. There is no shortage of ways to celebrate the holiday in the city over the next couple weeks. Here's a sampling of events you can participate in.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 25th, 2020
Sunset Park Lunar New Year Celebration, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Brooklyn
The Sunset Park Recreation Center is holding performances, raffles, giveaways, prizes, and games (however, the Parks Department says "a Recreation Center Membership is required to attend").
Flushing Lunar New Year Parade, 11 a.m., Queens
Kicking off at 11 a.m., the parade starts at Union Street and 37th Avenue, and goes down Union, then onto Sanford Avenue, and finally turns onto Main Street. The Queens Chamber of Commerce is also inviting people to march, and to participate in that, you can gather between 9:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. at St. George's Church.
Chinatown Firecracker Ceremony and Festival, 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Sara Roosevelt Park, Manhattan
Scare away the bad spirits with firecrackers, plus other live performances.
Snug Harbor Lunar New Year Celebration, 11 a.m.-12 p.m., Staten Island
Head to the Snug Harbor Cultural Center for a parade, storytelling, crafts, and more. Tickets are $10 for adults.
Lunar New Year Brunch at Humboldt & Jackson, 11:30 a.m., Brooklyn
The Williamsburg restaurant has partnered with Nom Wah Tea Parlor and Emily’s Pork Store for a "an epic brunch party" and daytime karaoke. There will be an all-you-can-eat Chinese inspired brunch buffet, plus a cocktail, all for $20.20.
Queens Botanical Garden Lunar New Year Celebration, 12-4 p.m., Queens,
Face-painting, mask-making, and lion dances are only some of what the garden has planned. Tickets are $6 for adults.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 26th, 2020
Sunset Park Chinese New Year Celebration Parade, 12 p.m., Brooklyn
The Brooklyn Chinese-American Association's parade starts at 8th Avenue and 50th Street, and includes "a spectacular fireworks display, a traditional lion dance, a Kung-Fu demonstration, and performances by local children as well as other cultural activities," according to the Brooklyn Reporter.
Queens Museum Lunar New Year Celebration, 1-3 p.m., Queens
Besides a kung fu demonstration, dancers and a lion dance, the Queens Museum will have an hour-long calligraphy workshop.
Chelsea Market Lunar New Year Extravaganza, 3-6 p.m., Manhattan
Pearl River is heralding the Year of the Rat with a ribbon dance, a reading of Gordon & Li Li Celebrate Lunar New Year, crafts, a lion dance, and dumplings from Mao's Bao.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 29th, 2020
Red Envelope Show, 6-9 p.m., Brooklyn
Head to City Point / Dekalb Market for the fifth annual art show that features "hundreds of original art on red envelopes by over 250 artists. Each envelope is also packed with a mystery gift for only the buyers to see." This is the opening night party (it runs through February 17th, 2020), plus there's also a lion dance at 7 p.m.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 1st, 2020
Museum of Chinese in America Lunar New Year Family Festival, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., 2-5 p.m., Manhattan
MOCA is offering two sessions ($12 for non-members) for families to participate in zodiac arts & crafts, watch dancers, and enjoy tales "inspired by Chinese and Chinese American New Year’s traditions."
Lion Dance from the World Trade Center Oculus to Brookfield Place, 1:30-2 p.m., Manhattan
See lion dancers start on the floor of the Oculus and go through the Western Concourse to welcome the Brookfield Place Lunar New Year celebration. Taking place at Brookfield Place, there will be martial arts, traditional Chinese dancing and music, and theatrical players.
Metropolitan Museum of Art Lunar New Year Festival, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Manhattan
A parade, Sesame Street puppeteers, crafts (lanterns! dragons), a noodle-pulling demo, calligraphy, and more are part of the Met's lineup.
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 2nd, 2020
China Institute Chinese New Year Family Festival, 12-4 p.m., Manhattan
Paper cutting, lantern-making, dumpling-making, a Year of the Rat puppet show, and—you guessed it—a lion dance are among the activities families can experience at this event. The China Institute also has an interactive installation called “The Art of Chinese New Year" on display. Tickets start at $5.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 8th, 2020
Chinatown Super Saturday Lion Dances, Manhattan
Lions will be dancing all over Chinatown on this day, visiting stores and restaurants. The lion dance is meant to bring good luck—and ward off bad luck.
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 9th, 2020
Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade, 1-4 p.m., Manhattan
Lion dancers, dancer dancers, and more fill the streets of Chinatown. The parade route starts at Mott Street and Canal Street, then moves to Chatham Square, then to East Broadway towards the Manhattan Bridge, and finishes at Eldridge and Forsyth Streets by Grand Street next to Sara D. Roosevelt Park.