Year of the Horse: 10 Ways to Celebrate the Lunar New Year with Kids in Boston
Whether you’re looking for traditional music, a spectacular show, a big Chinese New Year festival complete with a Lion Dance, or simply a fun craft to celebrate the Lunar New Year, Boston has it all. Read on for a roundup of ways to share many different Asian cultures with your kids while ushering in the Year of the Horse. You’ll also find links for cooking and dining, children's books about the Lunar New Year, and visiting Boston’s Chinatown.
Please note: We will soon update this post with information for 2015.
Chinese New Year Fun at Barefoot Books
This Saturday, January 25, 2014, from 12 -3 pm, head to Barefoot Books in Concord for story time and a craft. Children listen to Chinese New Year stories and make their very own lanterns to ring in the new year. Ages 5+, $3.
Lunar New Year Bedtime Stories at Blue Bunny
Ring in the Lunar New Year with Catching Joy at Blue Bunny Books in Dedham on Friday, January 31, 2014. During the bedtime storytime from 6:30 - 7:30 pm, there will be stories about Lunar New Year traditions, mask making, and a parade around the store. Free!
Year of the Horse Craft Projects at Artbeat
Walk in to Artbeat in Arlington Saturday-Sunday, February 1-2 and create a Chinese New Year Sand Painting. The sand paintings are easy to make (they have a sticky surface) and come out looking very cool. On Saturday and Sunday, February 15 and 16, decorate a mache horse. Artbeat’s drop-in hours are 10 am – 5 pm Monday through Thursday, and 10 am – 7 pm Friday.
Lunar New Year 2014 at Peabody Essex Museum
Celebrate Lunar New Year at Peabody Essex Museum in Salem on Saturday, February 1, 2014, from 10:30 am to 4:00 pm. Welcome in the Year of the Horse with performances, art activities, storytelling, gallery tours, and films throughout the day. Highlights include the Gund Kwok Asian Women Lion and Dragon Dance Troupe kicking off the celebration as it leads the traditional Lion Dance, storytelling, craft activities and sword play. We went a couple of years ago, and I would recommend being there for the Lion Dance – the Gund Kwok women are amazing. Festivities included in the cost of museum admission.
Chinese New Year Celebration at Boston Public Library
The Chinese Musicians Association will share Chinese culture and music through different instruments during the Chinese New Year Celebration at the Boston Public Library, Copley Square, on Sunday, February 2, 2014, 2 – 3:45 pm. All ages. Free!
Monkey Makes Mischief in Heaven at Arlington Center for the Arts
Hear the tale "Monkey Makes Mischief in Heaven", told with traditional Taiwanese hand puppets and choreography. Stay after the show to help decorate and dance with a New Year lion. The event is happening at Arlington Center for the Arts on Saturday, February 8, 2014, 2 pm to 3:30 pm. Recommended for ages 4 and up. $7 per person/3 tickets for $20.
Lunar New Year Celebration at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
The MFA is celebrating the Year of the Horse with free admission on Saturday, February 8, 2014 from 10 am - 4:45 pm. Celebrate at the MFA all day: Watch a parade and performance with Gund Kwok Lion Dance Troupe. Learn about Gong-Fu, Chinese Martial Arts, and Saebae, a Korean bowing ceremony. Take a guided tour of the museum's Art of Asia galleries and make some art of your own. Free!
Boston Chinatown's Chinese New Year Lion Dance Parade
On Sunday, February 9, 2014, get bundled up and head out to Chinatown for the annual Lion Dance Parade. Starting at 10 am from the stage in Phillips Square (at Harrison Avenue and Essex Street), the parade is a tradition not to be missed. It is part of a whole day of festivities, including a Chinese New Year Cultural Village inside the East West Bank at 74 Harrison Ave, with Chinese arts and crafts for all ages. Free!
Lunar New Year Festival in Quincy
Quincy is home to one of the largest Lunar New Year festivals in the region. Visit North Quincy High School on Sunday, February 16, 2014 for the Lion Dance at 10:30. Stay and play in the Family Area, with crafts, games and physical activities for kids. There will also be singing, dancing, and martial arts demonstrations. Stop by the food court for traditional foods when the kids start to get hungry. All ages. Free admission and parking!
Chinese New Year in Harvard Square
Celebrate the Chinese New Year in Harvard Square from 1-3 pm on February 23, 2014. The celebration begins with a Lion Dance around the ancient oak tree in Winthrop Park, followed by a parade to the Hong Kong Restaurant for food, art and music.
It’s pricey, but if you want to go all out to celebrate the Chinese New Year, we hear that Shen Yun doesn’t disappoint. Experience 5,000 years of Chinese civilization through classical Chinese dance and music, including ethnic and folk dances, thunderous battle drums, and masterful vocalists. The animated backdrops make you feel like you’re in another world. Think of it as a very inexpensive trip to China. Shen Yun performs all around the area this month, with a stop at the Wang Theatre February 28 - March 2, 2014. Ages 5+. Tickets $50-180.
Chinese New Year Festival at the Boston Children's Museum
Everyone can join in and celebrate the most important Chinese holiday of the year with cultural activities and performances at the Boston Children's Museum's Chinese New Year Festival on Sunday, March 1, 2015.
Other useful links:
- Attractions in Boston’s Chinatown (which happens to be the third largest Chinatown in the country, behind NYC and San Francisco)
- A great list of children's books and crafts for the Year of the Horse from Pragmatic Mom (one of our favorite blogs of 2013)
- Boston Magazine’s guide to Asian dining in Boston, Umami Rising, by Leah Mennies
- Four Traditional Chinese Recipes for Growing Children from Sampan.org