Lunar New Year celebrations – such as Chinese New Year, Vietnamese New Year, and Korean New Year – are all based on the traditional lunisolar calendar of China, but each celebration has aspects unique to its own culture. Chinese New Year, or the Spring Festival, celebrates the start of the lunisolar New Year and the beginning of Spring. Embracing Chinese New Year event planning is a great way to embrace your city’s Chinese community and celebrate with local events.

The Chinese New Year is associated with a vast range of cultural lore and traditions, which vary widely. Some common customs include gathering for reunion dinners on New Year’s Eve, cleaning house to make way for incoming good luck, lighting firecrackers, and exchanging red envelopes with money enclosed. No matter what, a typical Chinese New Year celebration looks to a bright year ahead and is all about coming together with loved ones. Consider these themes when it comes to Chinese New Year event planning, and review our curated list of inspiring events that creators have already organised.

Host a live cultural event

If you’re short on Chinese New Year event ideas, take some inspiration from the Highlands Ranch Community Association and their Chinese New Year Celebration performance. Their fair provides educational opportunities as well as art and craft items for display and purchase. It also includes traditional dance and music.

It’s a good idea to partner with a local organisation when planning your own event showcase. This kind of partnership will give cultural organisations a platform to showcase their heritage and will help you reach out to your local Chinese community. The incorporation of an art or craft fair element helps to support local artists and craftspeople and could potentially introduce them to new customers.

Serve a cultural feast

Revel in delicious Chinese and other East Asian food to celebrate the Lunar New Year with a festive meal or a potluck. Food holds symbolic meaning in many cultures, and Chinese culture is no different. Host a cooking class like HGS Home Chef and cookbook author Kian Lam Kho with a focus on symbolic dishes perfect for the Chinese New Year.

For your own event, research iconic dishes that are typically served at a Chinese New Year celebration and what each dish means, then organise a meal where these dishes are served or where guests each bring a dish to share. For a potluck-style event, consider assigning dishes based on the kind of positive symbolism each individual wants to bring with them into the New Year. If the event is intimate enough, discuss the traditional significance of the dishes and what those foods symbolise for your guests.

Go big with a Chinese New Year Festival

The San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade and Festival is one of the top ten parades in the world, according to the International Festivals & Events Association. This large-scale annual event has been around since the 1860s, with floats, elaborate costumes, firecrackers, and the newly crowned Miss Chinatown U.S.A.

This event shows how you can incorporate lots of different aspects of Chinese culture and Lunar New Year celebrations into your own festival. The parade organisers partner with the Asian Art Museum, the Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco, the CHSA Museum, the San Francisco Zoo, and the San Francisco Symphony. Consider reaching out to the Asian and Chinese cultural organisations in your area when you’re planning a Chinese New Year event as an opportunity for partnership. Incorporate performances, art, and potentially a fair aspect so attendees are able to explore many facets of Chinese culture.

Celebrate culture through craft

Host a workshop centred around a form of Chinese creative expression so your attendees can learn about heritage and culture. Crafting events are family-friendly events, and you can offer slightly different projects for adults and children to entice a larger audience. Participating in an event where attendees make something themselves creates a communal spirit, which many people are still craving in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Salford Community Leisure‘s Lantern Watercolour Painting workshop is a great example of how art can be used to celebrate the Chinese New Year. By designing the event to be relaxing and inclusive, they’re able to offer a low-key way to connect with the Chinese community and celebrate the upcoming holiday, regardless of a participant’s age or artistic abilities.

Organise a cooking class

Many people’s favourite part of a holiday celebration is the food. Teach people about a new cuisine with a cooking class or workshop, like FACT Liverpool does for the Lunar New Year.

Consider working with a local chef who specialises in Chinese or East Asian cuisine to demonstrate proper techniques and discuss ideal ingredients. Make sure to incorporate information about what the dish symbolizes as part of your workshop. Cooking classes make great online cultural events since you can send the ingredients list out to attendees ahead of time and have them follow along with the presenter via Zoom or your preferred streaming platform.

Ready to host a Chinese New Year celebration?

Now that you’ve got plenty of Chinese New Year event ideas, sign up for Eventbrite and create a page for your event. Eventbrite can help you boost your event on social media, send emails to potential attendees, and sell tickets.

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