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 2023, it begins on January 22nd.  According to the Chinese Zodiac, 2023 will be the Year of the Rabbit.  Our friends at Midtown Global Market tell us that the rabbit is a symbol of longevity, peace and prosperity in Chinese culture.

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

2023 Kid-Friendly Lunar New Year Celebrations

Celebrate the Lunar New Year @ Midtown Global Market

920 E. Lake Street, Minneapolis, MN 55407
Drop in to the market anytime between Noon and 3pm for this annual celebration featuring live entertainment, kids crafts and educational presentations. January 21, 2023; 12pm-3pm. FREE.
  • 12pm: CAAM Chinese Dance Theater troupe.
  • Storytelling: The Great Race: The Story of the Chinese Zodiac.
  • 1-2pm: Musician Jarrelle Barton performance on the Guzheng (a Chinese 21-string
  • The YWCA will host a table for kids to discover their Zodiac Animals and the traits of their sign.
  • The YWCA will also have a fun, free rabbit-inspired kids’ craft.
  • 2:30pm: Tay Phuong Lions with a traditional Lion Dance performance.

Lunar New Year Celebration at the MOA

Huntington Bank Rotunda, Mall of America, 60 E Broadway, Bloomington 55425
A two-day celebration of the Year of the Rabbit, including cultural presentations, performances  and décor. FREE. January 21-22, 2023; 12:30pm-5pm.
More Family Fun:
  • B&B Theatres is offering a Free Small Popcorn with any movie ticket purchase between January 21-February 15, 2023 as a special Lunar New Year Offer.
  • Haagen Dazs is offering a Buy one, get one 50% off Lunar New Year coupon, good for January 21-22, 2023.

Lunar New Year with the Minnesota Orchestra

1111 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55403
Director Junping Qian leads the Minnesota Orchestra for their second Lunar Near Year Performance. Tickets $34-$77/pp. January 28, 2023; 8:00pm. Note that children under 6 are not allowed at this concert. However, there will be a FREE live broadcast of the Friday afternoon rehearsal on January 27, 2023 at 1:30pm on YourClassical Minnesota Public Radio.
E Phillips Park, 2307 17th Ave S., Minneapolis, MN, US 55404
Crafts, refreshments and a few more activities for the youth to celebrate Lunar New Year.  The evening will end with a dragon dance. FREE. Registration Available.  February 3, 2023; 6:30 – 8:00pm.

7 Ways to Celebrate at Home

1. Make a Craft

We would love to see Lakeshore Learning bring back in-store crafts. In the meantime, it 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

  • 2024: Year of the Dragon
  • 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

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