Lunar New Year 2024: How Asian Americans are celebrating across the US - Hindustan Times
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Lunar New Year 2024: How Asian Americans are celebrating across the US

ByAditi Srivastava
Feb 10, 2024 11:46 AM IST

Lion dances, parades, and family feasts: How Lunar New Year is celebrated in the US

As the Year of the Dragon approaches, vibrant festivities are set to sweep across the United States, marking the arrival of the Lunar New Year for Asian diaspora communities. From bustling Chinatowns to suburban enclaves, the holiday will be observed with different customs and traditions that represent the rich cultures of China, Vietnam, Korea, and others. This yearly celebration brings together people of all ages to share cherished traditions, heartwarming rituals, and delicious food. Today we explore, how Asian communities celebrate Lunar New Year in their new homeland.

Performers and lion dancers take part in a procession for the upcoming Lunar New Year in Hanoi on January 28, 2024. (Photo by Nhac NGUYEN / AFP)(AFP)
Performers and lion dancers take part in a procession for the upcoming Lunar New Year in Hanoi on January 28, 2024. (Photo by Nhac NGUYEN / AFP)(AFP)

Lunar New Year 2024 celebrations in the US

Lunar New Year, signifies the beginning of the new year according to the lunisolar calendar. Here's a glimpse into how the United States and Asian diaspora communities celebrate this festival.

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Also read: Lunar New Year 2024: List of US cities and states granting public holiday

Chinese Communities

Lion dances, parades, red envelopes filled with lucky money, and family feasts with dumplings and fish are common customs. In San Francisco's Chinatown, one of the largest outside of Asia, thousands gather for the annual parade. Before the New Year, people typically clean their homes following traditional rituals, pay homage to their ancestors, and decorate with orchids and brightly colored flowers.

Vietnamese Communities

In Vietnam, the Lunar New Year, known as Tết Nguyên Đán, involves rituals such as house cleaning, ancestor worship, and offering traditional foods like bánh chưng (sticky rice cakes) and bánh tét (cylindrical rice cakes). Normally, New Orleans holds the most lively celebration of Tet with a Tet Fest featuring traditional cuisine, music, and performances. The Vietnamese population in New Orleans is estimated to be around 14,000. Additionally, Lunar New Year is observed as a cultural event by some Asian American Christians and by several Catholic dioceses across the U.S., as well as other churches.

Korean Communities

In South Korea, Lunar New Year, also known as Seollal, is characterized by ancestral rituals, donning hanboks (traditional attire), and engaging in games such as yutnori (a board game). Los Angeles, home to Koreatown, hosts one of the most prominent Seollal festivities in the U.S., showcasing traditional music, dance performances, and food markets. Furthermore, the Korean Cultural Center New York (KCCNY), a division of the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism of Korea, has announced the K-Family Fest: Celebrate Seollal at its new venue.

Also read: Chinese New Year 2024 - Date, how to celebrate, Zodiac animal and significance of new lunar year

US cities celebrating Lunar New Year 2024

New York City

  • Home to one in six Asian Americans, New York City explodes with vibrant celebrations.
  • Festivities launch with a glittering Firecracker Ceremony and vibrant cultural festival in locations like Sara D. Roosevelt Park.
  • Think! Chinatown offers a range of engaging events throughout the month, from workshops exploring traditional rituals to lively mahjong parties.
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art organizes a poetry reading from Asian American bookstores.

San Francisco

  • home to North America's largest Chinatown and hosts one of the biggest parades outside of Asia for the Chinese New Year Festival.
  • The parade features stunning floats, vibrant costumes, and energetic performances.
  • Oakland celebrates Lunar New Year with a festive event at Jack London Square on February 10th.

Boston

  • Lunar New Year Flower Market runs from February 2 to 9 at the China Trade Center.
  • The Vietnamese 35th Annual Tết in Boston Day Festival occurs on February 4th at the Flynn Cruiseport.
  • Visitors can enjoy traditional lion dances, delicious food, and cultural performances at these events.

Other cities like Seattle, Philadelphia, Houston, etc., also join in the celebrations.

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