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January 06, 2023

From lion dances to dumpling making classes, here ways to celebrate the Lunar New Year in Philly

The Year of the Rabbit begins – and the Year of the Tiger ends – on Jan. 22

Holiday Lunar New Year
lunar new year philly Provided image/Penn Museum

There are celebrations and other events planned in Philadelphia to mark the Lunar New Year, which will be observed Jan. 22, 2023. The photo above shows people costumes performing a lion dance at the Penn Museum.

The Lunar New Year is observed by East Asian and Southeast Asian cultures, and this year the holiday marks the beginning of the Year of the Rabbit and the end of the Year of the Tiger.

The timing of the Lunar New Year is connected to the lunar calendar. The celebration starts Jan. 22, the date of the first new moon of the lunar calendar, and it ends 15 days later with the first full moon.

This Lunar New Year marks the start of year 4721. The holiday also celebrates the impending arrival of spring and it is commonly known as the Spring Festival in China, where families often mark the occasion by feasting on traditional dishes that represent abundance, such as a whole fish or chicken, longevity noodles and sweet rice balls. They also decorate their homes' windows with red paper cuttings, cleaning their houses from top to bottom, and light traditional lanterns.

In Philly this year, there are a number of events taking place for anyone looking for ways to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year. Here are some of them:

Lunar New Year parades in Chinatown

10th and Spring streets

On Lunar New Year's Eve (Jan. 21) and on Lunar New Year's Day (Jan. 22), the Philadelphia Suns have organized parades to celebrate the Lunar New Year. Both will feature performances, including traditional lion dances. In Chinese culture the lion is symbolic of wisdom and the dance is intended to bring good luck. 

The parade on Lunar New Year's Eve begins 10 p.m. and the Lunar New Year's Day parade starts at 11 a.m. the next day. Both begin at 10th and Spring streets and the parade route winds through blocks of Chinatown.

There's a map of the parade routes on the Philadelphia Suns website. The organization also will be conducting performances elsewhere in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania suburbs through Jan. 29, including at the King of Prussia Mall, Reading Terminal Market and the Please Touch Museum. A list of performance locations also is published on the Suns website.

Learn to make dumplings

Hosted by Dumpling Academy
Event takes place at CityCoHo, 2401 Walnut St.

Learn how to make traditional Chinese dumplings at the Dumpling Academy for the Lunar New Year on Sunday, Jan. 22, at 11 a.m. The class will be taught by an experienced chef and attendees will learn how to make two different dumplings – one vegetarian and the other pork-based – along with a traditional Chinese dessert made of rice called tangyuan.

The Dumpling Academy provides all the ingredients and preparation tools you will need, including containers to take home your leftover dumplings, and the event is BYOB friendly.

Tickets are $95 per adult and $50 per child when purchased directly through the cooking school.

Rothman Orthopaedics Ice Rink 

Dilworth Park at Philadelphia City Hall

On Jan. 21, from 5-7 p.m., the Rothman Orthopaedics Ice Rink at Dilworth Park will host a performance by traditional Chinese dancers. The first 100 people will be given lucky red envelopes – a gift often bestowed on children by elders on Chinese New Year. The envelopes will include prizes and gifts. Food and drink will be available for purchase at the Rothman Orthopaedics Cabin.


Penn Museum at 3260 South St.

The Penn Museum hosts its annual Lunar New Year's celebration on Saturday, Jan. 21, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. The family-friendly event will feature dance and musical performances, visual storytelling and hands-on activities, like learning traditional papercutting.

The celebration will conclude with a lion dance performed by the Penn Lions, the university's traditional Chinese lion dance troupe. The schedule of performances and other activities is posted on the Penn Museum's website.

Admission to CultureFest! is included with the purchase of tickets to the Penn Museum on Jan 21. Tickets are $18 per adult, $13 per child, $16 for seniors.