Chinese New Year Festival

Year of the Dragon
Monday, February 20, 2012 (President's Day)
9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Gung hay fat choy! Welcome the Year of the Dragon by joining us for the Museum's annual celebration of Chinese New Year. Purchase a theatre ticket to see a vibrant performance by the Chinese Performing Arts of America Youth Group. Try your hand at calligraphy or make a kite in the Art Studio. Delicious Chinese food will be on sale or make your own traditional sweet pastry and we'll cook it for you. This will be accompanied by Chinese string music performed by Purple Orchid. Don't miss the free outdoor demonstrations by the spectacular lion dancers of the Dragon Horse Lion Dance Team and the Marin Chinese Cultural Association.

This event is produced in partnership with the Marin Chinese Cultural Association.


Join us for the exciting dragon dancing by Dragonhorse Lion Dance and a special double performance of Chinese traditional dancers.

Lion Dance
Festival Plaza (if raining, performances will be in the Discovery Theatre. Please pick up your free tickets at the Front Desk before entry.) 
10 a.m. Dragon Horse  Lion Dancers
2 p.m. Marin Chinese Cultural Association Lion Dancers
Free with Museum admission

Chinese Performing Arts of America Youth Group
Monday, February 20
11 a.m. & 1 p.m.

Buy tickets

Come celebrate Chinese New Year with this talented ensemble of youth and adult dancers. CPAA’s elegant performance of folk and classical dance showcases the rich and diverse cultures of China.


Chinese Calligraphy, Studio 10
Kites, Studio 10
Chinese Zodiac Symbols, Studio 5
Sweet Fried Wontons, The Playhouse

Traditions and Customs

Chinese New Year is a festive family holiday which celebrates the beginning of the New Year. The date is determined by the Chinese Lunar Calendar and usually falls in late January or February and the series of celebratory events can last up to two weeks. The primary focus at this time is to ensure good luck, pay respects to ancestors, gods and spirits, and to wish good fortune for friends and family in the coming year.

The Kitchen God – Tsun Kwan

On the 23rd day of the last month of the New Year, the Kitchen God leaves the family’s home to report to heaven on the family’s behavior during the past year. Families pray to the Kitchen God and serve a special dinner in his honor. Sweet foods are served to “sweeten up” the God’s report to heaven. After dinner, his picture is burned and many people light firecrackers.,On New Year’s Day, the Kitchen God returns to the family. On New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, families get together and have feasts. Houses are cleaned prior to New Year’s Eve, but not on the celebratory days themselves.

The Zodiac

The Chinese Zodiac is divided into 12 parts, each representing a different animal. Each year is ruled by one of these 12 animals. 2012 is the Year of the Dragon!

Red Envelopes

Children receive lucky red envelopes with money inside. The envelopes, called “Li-cee,” represent good luck and bring good fortune.

Chinese New Year Festival generously sponsored by:
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