Celebrate the Lunar New Year with Kids in the Twin Cities

Text: "Twin Cities Lunar New Year with Kids". Background: Girl with red dress holding a handful of gold coins.

The Lunar New Year, also known as Chinese New Year or Spring Festival, is celebrated by more than 20% of the world. Like Easter, it is calculated by the lunar calendar rather than the solar calendar – so the date changes from year to year, depending on the moon phases. Also, it is actually celebrated for 15 days – from the new moon to the full moon. In 2024, it begins on February 10th. According to the Chinese Zodiac, 2024 will be the Year of the Dragon.

Here are some ways to celebrate at home or out and about the Twin Cities.

The Carp Who Would Not Quit is playing at Children’s Theatre Company through February 18, 2024

 Kid-Friendly Lunar New Year Celebrations

Lunar New Year pARTy

Edina Art Center, 4701 W 64th St, Minneapolis, MN 55435
Get ready for Lunar New Year with by crafting vibrant decorations to build excitement for the Year of the Dragon’s arrival. January 20, 2024; 10:30am-Noon. $10/pp. Register here.

Learn More About Edina Art Center

ARTrageous Year of the Dragon Birthday Bash

ARTrageous Adventures,  2121 W 21st St, Minneapolis, MN 55405
Celebrate the studio’s 15th anniversary and the Year of the Dragon. January 26, 2024; 6-8pm. FREE. RSVP Here.

Learn More About ARTrageous Adventures

CAAM Chinese Dance Theater Presents: Hello New Year

The O’Shaughnessy, 2004 Randolph Ave, St Paul, MN 55105
Go on a dance journey through diverse Lunar New Year traditions, some rarely seen in the US. Vibrant costumes, lively music, and captivating dances enthrall audiences of all ages, from toddlers to grandparents. This 90-minute spectacle, with a brief intermission, promises a delightful celebration of cultural heritage. January 27, 2024, 7 pm or January 28, 2024, 2 pm. Tickets are pay what you can (starting at $5) for kids 12 and under, and $25 in advance/$30 at the door for everyone else.
CAAM Chinese Dance
CAAM Chinese Dance will be at both the O’Shaugnessy and Midtown Global Market in 2024. Image courtesy of Nemer Fieger

Lunar New Year Festival

1178 Burnsville Center, Burnsville, Minnesota 55306
A family-friendly way to usher in the Lunar New Year – two days of food vendors, cultural performances and face painting for kids. January 27-28, 2024, 11am-8pm. FREE admission.

Community Connect: Lunar New Year

East Phillips Park, 2307 17th Ave South, Minneapolis, MN 55404
Celebrate the year of the dragon with crafts, activities, refreshments and a dragon dance at the end of the night. Ages 5+. Friday, February 2, 2024; 6:30-8pm. FREE. Call the Rec Center to register. (612) 370-4888.

Tết/Vietnamese New Year

Southdale Library, 7001 York Ave. S., Edina, MN 55435
Dive into the  Year of the Dragon! Discover Vietnamese rituals, music, dances, Kung Fu, and stories. Craft sticky rice cakes, decorate lucky envelopes, and roll dice. Enjoy t’rưng music, folktales, and festive ceremonies. Sunday, February 4, 2024; 2pm-3:30pm. FREE. Questions: (612) 543-5900.

Year of the Dragon: Mystical Creatures of the Sky

Minneapolis Institute of Art, 2400 3rd Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55404

This free exhibit in the Cargill Gallery gather’s objects from Mia’s collection that show the progression of dragon art throughout Chinese history. February 10-May 5, 2024; FREE.

Lunar New Year Celebration at the MOA

Huntington Bank Rotunda, Mall of America, 60 E Broadway, Bloomington 55425

Immerse yourself in the joyous Lunar New Year celebration! Revel in the “Year of the Dragon” amidst vibrant cultural presentations, dazzling performances, and stunning Lunar New Year decor. February 10, 2024 and February 11 2024; 2:30-5pm. FREE.

Lunar New Year with the Minnesota Orchestra

1111 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55403
Director Junping Qian leads the Minnesota Orchestra for their third Lunar Near Year Performance.  Note that children under 6 are not allowed at this concert. February 17, 2024; 7:00pm. Tickets $38-$78

Celebrate the Lunar New Year at Midtown Global Market

920 E. Lake Street, Minneapolis, MN 55407

Midtown Global Market will host a free celebration for families to mark the 2024 Lunar New Year (Year of the Dragon). Activities will include crafts for kids, story time, educational presentations, dances by several local troupes and live music. Saturday, February 10, 2024 from noon to 3pm.

Cypher Side Dancers performance during a 2023 Lunar New Year Celebration at Midtown Global Market in Minneapolis, MN
Cypher Side Dancers. Image courtesy of Nemer Fieger.

7 Ways to Celebrate at Home

1. Make a Craft

Lakeshore Learning offers directions to make your own Chinese New Year Drum or a Chinese Lanterns craft. A lantern festival is typically celebrated the last day of the 15 days of Lunar New Year when the moon is full. You could make both crafts on the first day to use as decorations for your family dinner party, and then have a lantern festival on the night of the full moon.

2. Order Take-out (or make your own) and Have a Family Dinner Party

As long as you are staying in, this would be a fun day to order take out or make your own Asian-inspired dinner. It doesn’t have to be Chinese – many Asian countries celebrate this holiday with feasts. Pick your favorite menu or sample food from several cultures – maybe try food from Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan or Thailand. You could even try a little of everything.

3. Give Your Kids Red Envelopes (Lucky Money)

Some Asian cultures give their kids red envelopes after dinner as a way to wish the children health, growth, and good studies. You don’t have to give them real money. You could use gold chocolate coins as your gifts. We find ours in the candy bins at our Cub.

4. Pull out some Leftover Sparklers

Firecrackers or glow sticks also would work to have your own mini-fireworks display in your backyard.

5. Watch a Chinese New Year Dragon Dance

6. Story Time with Lunar New Year Books

We’ve pulled together some children’s books about kids who celebrate the Lunar New Year around the world*.

7. Learn more about Chinese New Year Celebrations

I found a lot of interesting information from The School Run. Their Chinese New Year resources include information about lion and dragon dances, red envelopes, New Year’s Eve spring cleaning, what you should and shouldn’t do for good luck and good fortune in the new year, and more interesting facts.

Upcoming Chinese Zodiac Years

  • 2025: Year of the Snake
  • 2026: Year of the Horse
  • 2027: Year of the Goat
  • 2028: Year of the Monkey
  • 2029: Year of the Rooster
  • 2030: Year of the Dog
  • 2031: Year of the Pig
  • 2032: Year of the Rat
  • 2033: Year of the Ox
  • 2034: Year of the Tiger
  • 2035: Year of the Rabbit
  • 2036: Year of the Dragon

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