Many of us in Cleveland celebrate the New Year each year on January 1, with champagne toasts and celebrations as soon as the clock strikes midnight.
But this New Year’s tradition isn’t the only one that people celebrate!
There’s another New Year to celebrate, and that’s Lunar New Year.
What is Lunar New Year?
Also sometimes called Chinese New Year because it’s based on the lunar-solar Chinese calendar, Lunar New Year is a 15-day-long holiday that begins at the start of the new lunar year and lasts until the Lantern Festival two weeks later.
The holiday is also sometimes known as the Spring Festival, though it usually takes place each year in late January or early February on the Gregorian calendar most Western nations use.
The Lunar New Year is a holiday that has been celebrated for thousands of years, and is deeply rooted in history.
The holiday – which is celebrated in many Asian cultures as well as in areas around the world with large Chinese populations – is one that centers around honoring deities and ancestors, and is a time for family and friends to gather.
In 2022, the Lunar New Year begins on February 1. The holiday will usher in the Year of the (Water) Tiger.
Lunar New Year traditions
Some Lunar New Year/Spring Festival traditions you may see families participating in include:
- Doing some pre-New Year spring cleaning around the house.
- Putting up lots of red decorations, as red is an auspicious color.
- Honoring the dead, including visiting graves and leaving offerings of food to ancestors.
- Having a big family dinner on New Year’s Eve.
- Exchanging gifts – including red envelopes filled with money.
- Lion dances and fireworks!
- Eating “lucky” foods like fish, dumplings, sweet rice balls, fruit (especially mandarins and oranges), and more.
Lunar New Year in Cleveland
Cleveland has Lunar New Year celebrations each year, usually centering around AsiaTown on the city’s near east side.
If you would like to learn more about this cultural holiday or partake in some of the festivities yourself, here are some things currently planned this year:
1. Case Western Lunar New Year
Where: KSL Oval (10900 Euclid Ave, Cleveland)
When: Monday, January 31 from 6-7 p.m.
Case Western Reserve University will be having its annual Lunar New Year event on January 31. The event will feature popular holiday snacks like sesame balls, and they will be giving away plush tigers to celebrate the Year of the Tiger.
The event will conclude with fireworks at 6:30 p.m.
2. Lunar New Year at Asia Plaza
Where: Asia Plaza (2999 Payne Ave, Cleveland)
When: Saturday, February 5 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
AsiaTown is throwing its annual Lunar New Year event on the Saturday after the “official” holiday. The event will include activities for children, a demonstration by the Kwan Lion Dance Team at 11 a.m., and musical entertainment.
While you’re there, you can also shop and dine at several locally-owned Asian stores and restaurants.
Note: The Kwan Lion Dance Team will also be performing at LiWah Restaurant on Friday, Feb. 4th at 7 p.m.
3. Cuyahoga County Public Library
Different branches of the Cuyahoga County Public Library usually organize Lunar New Year events each year, which often include concerts and kids’ crafts.
In 2022, however, the majority of these events have been canceled.
4. Eat Lunar New Year foods
AsiaTown is filled with excellent Chinese and other Asian restaurants, many of which will serve up traditional new year foods.
A few you can be assured to find authentic eats at include:
- LJ Shanghai
- LiWah Restaurant
- Sichuan Hot Pot
- Koko Bakery
You can also always shop at local Asian grocery stores like Good Harvest, Asia Food Co, and Park to Shop.
Will you be enjoying any Lunar New Year celebrations this year?
Amanda was born and raised in northeast Ohio, and has always been a fangirl of the state. Now, she wants to share her love of Cleveland with the world, highlighting all the best things to do, see, and eat in the CLE. She’s been running Cleveland Traveler since January 2019.