Washington, D.C. celebrates the Chinese New Year with a Chinese New Year Parade, Chinese Dragon Dances, live musical performances, and more. The Chinese New Year is a 15-day event that starts with the New Moon on the first day of the new year and ends on the full moon 15 days later. The first day of the year can fall anywhere between late January and the middle of February. The celebration includes dedicating each year to a specific animal.
The Dragon, Horse, Monkey, Rat, Boar, Rabbit, Dog, Rooster, Ox, Tiger, Snake, and Goat are the twelve animals that are part of this tradition.
In 2018, on the Western calendar, the start of the New Year falls on February 16th and is The Year of the Dog. During this important celebration in the Asian culture, it is traditional to wear red, meant to ward off evil spirits.
Following is a guide to the 2018 Chinese New Year events in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia.
In Washington, D.C.
- Chinese New Year Parade and Festival in Washington, D.C.
February 18, 2018, 2-5 p.m. Chinatown - on H Street, NW, between 6th and 7th Streets. Each year a parade is held in Chinatown to celebrate the Chinese New Year. The event features the traditional Chinese Dragon Dance, Kung Fu demonstrations and live musical entertainment. The firecracker will be lit at 3:45 p.m. A good place to view the parade is along 7th St. The closest Metro station is Gallery Place/Chinatown. See photos of the Chinese New Year Parade.
- Celebrate from 12-5 p.m. at the Chinatown Lunar New Year Festival, Chinatown Community Cultural Center, 616 H Street, NW Washington, D.C. Programs and activities will include: live music and dance performances, traditional Chinese calligraphy, children’s crafts, face painting, tai chi and kung fu demonstrations, lion dancing, poetry readings, film screenings, art and photo exhibits, raffle prizes, New Year souvenirs, free giveaways, and much more.
- Kennedy Center Family Day: Lunar New Year Celebration
February 17, 2018, 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. Roof Terrace, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F. St. NW, Washington, D.C. Free, No tickets required. The event features activities and entertainment for all ages with a special focus on the arts and culture of China’s Chengdu Plain, home to most of the world’s giant pandas.
- TAP-DC Lunar New Year Celebration
February 3, 2018. 8pm-Midnight. National Union Building, 918 F Street NW, Washington, D.C. Open bar, DJ spinning the latest hits, dance floor, night market, photo booth, arts&craft, lion dance performance, traditional Chinese dance, and more
- MGM National Harbor Lunar New Year Celebration
2018 Date to Be Announced, 8 p.m. MGM National Harbor, 101 MGM National Avenue, National Harbor, MD. Together as a band for the first time, Chinese pop rock superstars Band of Brothers will bring their spectacular production The Theater at MGM National Harbor. Band of Brothers is a Chinese pop rock band formed by veteran singers Richie Jen, Steve Wong, Edmond Leung and William So. Each member of the band has an extraordinary career spanning more than two decades and have collectively released more than 80 albums throughout their respective careers. Tickets for the Lunar New Year celebration performance range from $68 to $188. The Conservatory at MGM National Harbor will display a 30-foot tall fire rooster, citrus trees and “Lady Luck,” the Chinese empress, a floral masterpiece made of 200,000 flowers (on display through March).
- Gaithersburg Chinese New Year Events
2018 Dates to Be Announced. Lakeforest Mall, 701 Russell Avenue, Gaithersburg, MD. View beautiful Chinese New Year decorations and exhibits throughout the mall. Live entertainment (weekends, noon-5:00 p.m.) includes traditional lion and dragon dances, folk dances and martial arts demonstrations. Demonstrations and workshops include flower/bonsai arrangement, arts and crafts, painting and games.
- Rockville's Lunar New Year Celebration
February 24, 2018, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Thomas S. Wootton High School, 2100 Wootton Parkway, Rockville, MD. The event will feature samples of Asian cuisine and a variety of multigenerational performances and exhibitors including several dance groups. Performers will include Central Evergreen Dance Group, Chinese Culture and Community Service Center Dragon Dance Team, Diana Dance Arts, Graceful Postures and Dance, House of Angklung, Lihui's Youth Choir and Potomac Youth Choir, Indonesian Kids Performing Arts, Migrant Heritage Commission Fil-Am Dance Ensemble, US Chinese Wushu Institution, Washington Asian Philharmonic Orchestra and West Asian Belly Dance Club.
- Chinese New Year at Clarksburg Premium Outlets
February 11, 2018, 1-4 p.m. Clarksburg Premium Outlets, 22705 Clarksburg Road, Clarksburg, MD. The Chinese New Year event features live entertainment, including colorful Dragon Dances and music, activations and more.
- Chinese New Year at Montgomery County Public Libraries
Thirteen branches of the public libraries welcome the new year with a variety of programs. Music, dance and special performances feature the sights, sounds and cultures of China, Korea and Vietnam. Programs include introduction to customs behind the Lunar New Year, traditional dances, hands-on art activities, puppet shows, healing and martial arts demonstrations including tai-chi and kung fu, calligraphy, crafts, customs, Chinese yo-yo, workshops and children's activities, and the traditional Chinese lion dance. For specific schedules, visit the Montgomery County Public Libraries website
In Northern Virginia
- Chinese New Year Festival - Falls Church
February 10, 2018, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Luther Jackson Middle School, 3020 Gallows Road, Falls Church, VA. The event, hosted by the Asian Community Service Center, offers performances from China, Korea, India, Thailand, Vietnam, among others including the beautiful Chinese sword dance; Dragon Parade, fashion show, Asian plant art, Asian foods, Chinese cooking demo, teaching of Chinese characters, crafts, kids activities and more. FREE Admission.
- Fair Oaks Mall Lunar New Year Celebration
February 17-18, 2018, 1-5 p.m. Fair Oaks Mall, 11750 Fair Oaks, Fairfax, VA. Ceremonies, performances and exhibitions will be presented from each day, with most of the events centered in the Fair Oaks Mall Grand Court. Presented by the Washington Hai Hua Community Center, the event will feature traditional Chinese dragon dances; music and dance performances; martial arts demonstrations; children’s crafts; and a special lantern festival. More than 200 performers will participate in this year’s Lunar New Year festival, representing such countries and regions as China, Korea, India, Thailand, Vietnam, Mongolia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Polynesia and the 50th state of Hawaii.
- Chinese New Year at Leesburg Outlets
2018 Dates to Be Announced, 1-3 p.m. Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets, 241 Fort Evans Road NE, Leesburg, VA. Enjoy an afternoon of cultural delight complete with calligraphy writing, origami folding and a variety of local performances including colorful Dragon Dances and a Han Conture Fashion Show.