By Will Reisman, @WillReisman
It’s a phrase that Bay Area residents are very familiar with: Gung Hay Fat Choy! The term essentially means “Best Wishes and Congratulations” in Chinese, and is heard often this time of the year, as February 8 marked the start of the Lunar New Year. Always a time of great celebration in the Bay Area, cities and towns across the region will be marking the occasion by hosting various events and festivals throughout February. Here’s a breakdown on just some of the gatherings to look forward to this month.
What’s better than celebrating the Year of the Monkey than checking out actual monkeys? On February 13, the San Francisco Zoo will allow free admission to all visitors who were born in the Year of the Monkey as part of its Lunar New Year Celebration. The zoo will host a Zodiac scavenger hunt, curate learning centers about animals on the Chinese calendar and offer arts and crafts sessions where children can create their own paper monkey.
Saturday, February 13, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
San Francisco Zoo
Transit Connections—Muni L-Taraval
The grand poo-bah of all Lunar New Year celebrations will take place on February 20 in San Francisco with the Chinese New Year Parade. Thousands of residents annually line up along the streets of downtown San Francisco to watch this procession of elaborate floats, lion dancers, marching bands, stilt walkers, costumed elementary students and of, course the 268-foot long Gum Long (or Golden Dragon). The parade takes place from 5:15 p.m. – 8 p.m. on Saturday, February 20, and is part of a month-long series of events organized by the San Francisco Chinese Chamber of Commerce.
Saturday, February 20, 5:15 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Downtown San Francisco
Transit Connections—Multiple agencies—Muni, BART, AC Transit, Caltrain
Red panda acrobats, martial arts demonstrations, and lion dancers will all be part of 6th Annual Lunar New Year Celebration taking place in Redwood City on Saturday, February 27. The family-friendly event will take place at the city’s Courthouse Square, and is free to the public. There will be something for everyone—parents can check out the synchronized Taiko drumming performances while kids engage in the arts and crafts tent.
Saturday, February 27, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
The Mitchell Park Community Center in Palo Alto will host a Chinese New Year Celebration on February 21. The free event, lasting from 2 p.m. – 4:30 p.m., will feature calligraphy displays, Mah-jongg games, Chinese dumplings and other food samplings, dance recitals, plus many more activities. The event will not only celebrate the Chinese New Year, but also work as a way to foster and strengthen relationships among the residents of Palo Alto.
Sunday, February 21, 2 – 4:30 p.m.
Mitchell Park Community Center
Transit Connections—VTA Route 35
Arts will be the focus of the Lunar New Year Celebration at the Children’s Discovery Museum in San Jose this Saturday and Sunday. Kids will get to learn techniques on traditional Chinese pursuits like brush painting and paper folding, while contemporary musicians and dancers perform throughout the day. Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, the Children’s Discovery Museum will be hosting special programs for the Lunar Year Celebrations from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. over the weekend.
Saturday and Sunday, February 13 and 14, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Children’s Discovery Museum
Transit Connections—VTA Alum Rock-Santa Teresa Light Rail line
Admission will be free to the San Jose Museum of Art on Saturday, February 13 as part of the institution’s celebration of the Lunar New Year. There will be storytellers entertaining children, plus art-making stations, where kids can learn how to create shadow puppets, Zodiac stickers and paint not-so-traditional landscapes. The day of celebration will conclude with a performance from the Rising Phoenix Lion Dance Association.
Saturday, February 13, 11 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
San Jose Museum of Art
Transit Connections—Caltrain and VTA