Celebrate Lunar New Year in Sonoma County

Often referred to as Chinese New Year in the United States, the Lunar New Year is a 15-day celebration of springtime and the first new moon of the lunar calendar. In 2023, Lunar New Year will start on Sunday, January 22 ushering in the Year of the Rabbit — a sign attributed to those born (most recently) in 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, and 2011. 

Lunar New Year is a major holiday in China, but is also celebrated in Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Cambodia, the Philippines, South Korea (as Seollal), Vietnam (as Tet), Tibet (as Losar) and Indonesia (as Imlek). Celebrations include lavish parades designed to ward off bad spirits in the year ahead, using fireworks, beating drums, clashing cymbals, loud gongs, and teams of dancers costumed as huge lions and dragons. 

"RedEnvelopes" by Ksionic Extended families gather for elaborate feasts and ceremonies honoring their ancestors, and older relatives traditionally gift their younger relatives auspicious red envelopes stuffed with money. It’s also customary to “sweep the grounds” (otherwise known as “spring cleaning”) to tidy up one’s home and make room for good luck in  the year ahead.   

happy lunar new year

You can experience the celebration here in Wine Country. On Saturday, January 28 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Santa Rosa’s Redwood Empire Chinese Association presents the wonders and joy of the Lunar New Year at the Children’s Museum of Sonoma County! This special event will feature traditional Chinese dancers, including child participation with lion and dragon dances. Expand your knowledge of calligraphy, traditional paper cutting, and adventures in the Chinese Zodiac. The Museum of Sonoma County will also host a storytelling booth, including a history of Chinatown in Santa Rosa.

lantern festival lunar new year The last day of the Lunar New Year’s celebrations is marked by the Lantern Festival, when colorful lantern displays appear outside homes and other buildings, and are sometimes paraded in public.

For an especially delicious celebration of Lunar New Year, reserve a table at or order take-out from one or more of Sonoma County’s excellent Chinese restaurants, which include: 

Happy Lunar New Year to you and yours from Sonoma County!

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