Year of the Dragon

Happy Chinese New Year. The Chinese new year is officially known as Lunar New Year which begins on January 23 and is celebrated in the Asian communities with 15 days of food, firecrackers and fanfares designed to ensure that the year is full of good fortune. In the Chinese zodiac, the dragon is the most auspicious symbol of success and happiness as well as the symbol of the emperor and the son of heaven, so this year’s celebrations will have a special meaning.

This year, major Chinese New Year celebrations will be held in Hong Kong, Singapore, Sydney and many other cities around the world, including these five U.S. cities, so if you happen to live in these cities or are visiting, watch and enjoy the parade.

1. New York

In New York City, the Chinese New Year kicks off with a bang — literally — on Jan. 23 at the Firecracker Ceremony and Cultural Festival in Roosevelt Park in Manhattan’s Chinatown neighborhood. Chinatown’s Lunar New Year Parade and Festival takes place Jan. 29 and will fill Chinatown’s streets with floats, marching bands, lion and dragon dances, musical performances, acrobats, magicians and more. More details at http://explorechinatown.com/

2. Seattle

Seattle celebrates the Lunar New Year with a festival on Jan. 28 in the Chinatown–International District in Hing Hay Park. Activities include lion and dragon dances, Taiko drumming, martial arts, a food walk featuring a neighborhood-wide tasting menu and the third annual children’s costume parade contest. More details at http://www.cidbia.org/events/lunar-new-year-celebration-2012-year-of-the-dragon.

3. Washington, D.C.

In Washington, D.C., the Chinese consolidated Benevolent Society will host its Chinese New Year Parade on Jan. 29 in the city’s downtown Chinatown neighborhood with kung fu demonstrations, a dragon dance, a lion dance, costumed dancers and the lighting of a giant firecracker.

4. San Francisco

Being held on Feb. 11, this Chinese New Year’s parade is going to be the biggest outside of Asia with 6,000 participants, 22 floats and numerous marching bands, drill teams and school groups. The parade will take place at nighttime when everyone can enjoy the illuminated parade. In addition, there will be a 250 foot dragon which will be held by 100 men and women. That is definitely a sight to see. More details at http://www.chineseparade.com/

5. Las Vegas

Everyone knows that Vegas is a place to have fun. This year is going to be extra special. On Jan. 23, a dragon dance will begin at The Venetian and make its way through the casino to the waterfall at the atrium gardens in The Palazzo, where the unveiling of a 128-foot, fire-breathing dragon will take place. The dragon will breathe fire daily at 1 and 5 p.m. through Feb. 5. That’s not all. If you’ve ever been to Vegas, you know how they roll. Throughout casinos and botanical gardens, there are decorated dragons that breathe steam and wiggle their tails as well as koi fish in the ponds. There’s enough entertainment to make sure you have a good time and after seeing all that, you won’t be able to keep it in Vegas 😉

Stay safe and have fun!

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