The biggest holiday of the year for many Asian cultures, Lunar New Year falls on Feb. 10 and officially starts the “Year of the Snake.” Both in Baltimore and in the surrounding area, numerous communities will be gathering for this epic celebration of Asian culture, history and arts. Whether you’re just interested in learning more or would like to take an active role in the festivities, check out this list for the best options for celebrating the Lunar New Year locally.
Port Discovery Children’s Museum
35 Market Place
Baltimore, Md. 21202
Date: Feb. 16 – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Port Discovery Children’s Museum hosts an annual Lunar New Year celebration so families from any background or culture can learn more about the traditions surrounding this important holiday. Guests will experience the beauty of Chinese dance with the traditional lion dance, which began thousands of years ago. Additionally, storytelling and mask-making are all free with museum admission. Finally, top it all off with delicious food samplings, chopsticks demonstrations and even conversations with key officials in Asian-Pacific American affairs – all in all, an experience that comes highly recommended by past attendees.
The Walters Art Museum
600 N. Charles St.
Baltimore, Md. 21201
Hours: Feb. 10 – 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.
The Walters Art Museum continues its annual celebration of the Chinese New Year in 2013 with the opportunity to craft bright lanterns, banners and more to decorate your home. Visitors can also ensure their good luck by creating snake art in tribute to the animal sign for this year. Then, sit back and watch some traditional and cultural New Year dance performances while paying respects to the ancestors, gods and spirits. Bonus: Everyone is sure to gain some inspiration and creativity by viewing the museum’s vibrant Asian art collection, which will be on display.
3rd Annual Lunar New Year Celebration
VisArts at Rockville
155 Gibbs St.
Rockville, Md. 20850
Hours: Feb. 16 – 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Drawing performers, vendors and participants from the local Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese and Vietnamese communities, the Rockville Town Square celebration is a not-to-be-missed Lunar New Year event. The parade starts at VisArts then proceeds down Beall Ave., Maryland Ave. and finally turns at East Middle Lane before returning back to Gibbs St. (VisArts). With more than 1,000 spectators expected to attend, be sure to arrive early to get a seat at the viewing stand on Maryland Ave. and hear welcoming remarks by special guests. Then prepare to be wowed by lion dancers, musicians, student groups, street performers and more – there’s no better way to experience the history, gorgeous costumes and unforgettable dances, songs and music of Asian culture.
2013 Lunar New Year Celebration: The Year Of The Snake
Jing Ying Institute of Kung Fu & Tai Chi
1195 Baltimore Annapolis Blvd., #6
Arnold, Md. 21012
Hours: Feb. 23 – 10 a.m.
Jing Ying Institute, a martial arts school that specializes in the discipline of the Northern Shaolin Kung Fu system, will open its doors to the public to usher in “The Year of the Snake” through a variety of free and low-cost workshops. Interested participants can learn more about the traditions of the Lunar New Year and partake in activities like a tea tasting, qigong, tai chi, kung fu or even a class on Chinese calligraphy. The festivities will also include live music and lion dancing, as well as food, live martial arts demonstrations, raffles prizes and crafts. The day promises to be entertaining and educational for children and adults alike.
614 Water St.
Baltimore, Md. 21202
For an explosive taste of Asian culture, TATU Baltimore is the place to dine. Taking the most popular styles of cooking from the Orient, the restaurant offers tasty dishes from Chinois Pan Asian, Hunan and Szechwan Chinese and Japanese cultures. With a private Zen sake lounge and tatami room, plus the euphoric, red candle light atmosphere, the restaurant’s dining ambiance is guaranteed to make your celebratory dinner unforgettable. Two private dining rooms are also available for group up to 65 people so you can host your own Chinese New Year’s celebration without the stress of cleaning up afterward.
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Keri Ann Beazell is a Baltimore writer following the latest developments in arts and culture, natural wonders, lifestyle and pets. She enjoys promoting thought-provoking discussions, education, new ideas and smiles among readers. Follow her online at Examiner.com