Rise and shine, 2023! According to the traditional Chinese zodiac, this is the Year of the Rabbit. And, it all kicks off during the Lunar New Year (aka the Chinese New Year) on Sunday, Jan. 22.
“The Lunar New Year is like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s all rolled into one. We have family reunions, dinner parties, fireworks, and gift-giving,” says Lisa Wong, president of the OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates, Greater Cleveland chapter, which provides civic engagement and cultural education on behalf of Cleveland’s burgeoning Asian-Pacific population.
While the heart of this holiday focuses on family togetherness, the Lunar New Year is wrapped in centuries-old traditions. Wear red because it’s lucky. Set off firecrackers to scare evil spirits. Give children red envelopes filled with money for prosperity. Buy new clothes to encourage renewal.
Want to try out these unique ways to merrymake during the Lunar New Year? With a flourishing Asian community and a neighborhood rich with Asian-Pacific diversity (Asia Town), Cleveland is the place to be.
OCA Greater Cleveland compiled a list of Lunar New Year celebrations throughout the region. Check it out here.
Or, check out a Kwan Family Lion Dance performance, a staple of the Chinese New Year. Those who celebrate the Lunar New Year know this singular activity is an absolute "must see." Take a gander.
Performed by two people in a large lion costume with an accompanied band of cymbals and drums, the dance is done to symbolically scare away evil spirits. The lion sports a giant papier mâché head and blinking eyes adorned with brightly colored trinkets, fur, glitter and mirrors.
“The lion dance is very special,” Wong says. “If you feed the lion lucky money, it will bring prosperity and good luck for the upcoming year.”
This year Asia Plaza will be hosting a Year of the Rabbit Lunar New Year Celebration . The Kwan Lion Dance Team will be featured in Li Wah at 11 a.m. and in Asia Plaza at 11:30 a.m. You also won't want to miss the Cleveland Glory Waste Drum Team performance beginning at 1:00 p.m.