The Lunar New Year, or Chinese New Year, officially begins this year on Jan. 25 and ends Feb. 4.
Lunar calendars consist of 12 months with each month roughly corresponding to one cycle of the moon. They have been used by several peoples throughout history, including many Asian cultures. A number of different Lunar New Year festivals are held throughout the world.
A lunar calendar developed by China spread to Korea and then to Japan by the sixth century A.D. It was eventually adopted elsewhere in Asia. In the Chinese calendar, the new year begins on the second full moon after the Winter Solstice.
The Chinese zodiac consists of 12 animals — rat, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, dog and pig — that first appeared in the Zhan Guo period, fifth century B.C.
This is the year of the Metal Rat. In addition to an animal, each year in the Chinese Zodiac is also influenced by an element, either metal, water, wood, fire or earth.
According to the Chinese Zodiac, babies born in the Year of the Metal Rat will be good in business, are instinctive and alert and will always react properly. They are sophisticated and popular with others. Their lucky numbers are 2 and 3, and lucky colors are gold, blue and green.
Lunar New Year events
Southern California will celebrate the Year of the Rat with numerous festivals and parades.
Lunar New Year Celebration
Jan. 17 through Feb. 9
Disney California Adventure Park
1313 Disneyland Drive, Anaheim
Disneyland Resort will welcome a year of good fortune with Lunar New Year celebrations at Disney California Adventure. In true “Disney” style, the Year of the Rat will transform into the Year of the Mouse with Mulan’s Lunar New Year Procession.
A special Lunar New Year menu at Paradise Garden Grill offers items inspired by traditional Asian fare, plus a Festival Cart inside Paradise Gardens and special food options at Lucky Fortune Cookery in Pacific Wharf.
Live, daily performances by Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese dancers and musicians will take place throughout Paradise Gardens Park.
Enjoy areas for guests to try complimentary arts and crafts. One area features a complimentary dragon’s pearl coloring craft, and another features Chinese calligraphy with local artisans. Plus, there will be new face painting opportunities.
A Lucky Wishing Wall, located in Paradise Gardens, is where guests may write down wishes and tie them to the wall in hopes for a prosperous future.
Midnight Temple Ceremony
Jan. 24 10 p.m.
Thien Hau Temple
756 Yale St., Los Angeles
Chinatown welcomes New Year with a free midnight ceremony at the Thien Hau Temple. Crowds begin to gather on the eve of the Chinese New Year to make offerings to the deities, awaken the spirits with 500,000 firecrackers and burn incense for good fortune. Join lion dancers and monks starting at 10 p.m.
Lunar New Year Festival
Jan. 25 11 a.m.
Pacific Asia Museum
46 N. Los Robles Ave., Pasadena
Enjoy free admission to the galleries, live traditional performances in the courtyard, artmaking workshops, food trucks and more.
Santa Monica Lunar New Year
Jan. 25 2-5 p.m.
Santa Monica Place
395 Santa Monica Place, Los Angeles
Free performances and activities with comedian host Paul “PK” Kim. Includes a Chinese lion dance, Korean fan dance, stilt walkers, traditional dough artist, balloon twister, crafts and New Year’s Wishing Trees.
Golden Dragon Parade and
Chinese New Year Festival
Feb. 11 p.m.
Chinatown Central Plaza
943 N. Broadway, Los Angeles
Join in one of L.A.’s oldest traditions at the 121st Annual Chinese New Year parade and festival in LA’s Chinatown. See multi-stage acts including kung fu demos and traditional music acts. The Golden Dragon Parade, (1-3 p.m.) begins at Hill and Ord Streets and concludes at Broadway and Cesar Chavez.