Welcoming the Year of the Rabbit, Bay Area Style

Next week marks the Lunar New Year and the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays.
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Outside of Asia, the Bay Area is the most festive place to celebrate and welcome the Year of the Rabbit, and there are enough activities to keep you and your little ones busy almost all month long.

– In Oakland, this coming weekend, MOCHA (the Museum of Children’s Art) is holding a special Chinese New Year activity with Faye Wu, author of Chinese and English Nursery Rhymes: Share and Sing in Two Languages. Children will be able to learn a Chinese song and create some rabbit art for year of the hare with artist/illustrator Kieren Dutcher. January 29 & 30, 1–3pm, $8 per child, FREE for adults and members. More information here.

– The Asian Art Museum in San Franciscowill hold special family activities on February 5 & 6. From their schedule of events:

Year of the Rabbit Celebration

Saturday, February 5

Year of the Rabbit Reading with Oliver Chin

1:00–1:45 pm

Hands-on Activities

2:00–4:00 pm

Animal Zodiac Stories

3:00–3:45 pm

Sunday, February 6

Lion Dance

12:00–12:45 pm

Lunar New Year Stories

1:00–1:45 pm

Hands-on Activities

1:00–4:00 pm

Part of the Target First Free Sunday Program

– On February 13, the Oakland Museum will hold its annual pan-Asian Lunar New Year celebration, which includes Lion and Dragon Dancers, crafts, story-telling by local author Oliver Chin (whose books give delightful introductions to the zodiac animals for non-Chinese children), and mochi pounding, which, if you’ve never seen it, is an amazing display of Japanese drumming, dancing, and dessert making all in one. The Museum’s celebration has for many years been my family’s favorite local Lunar New Year event, and following the museum’s recent renovation this year should be even better than ever. It will be held on February 13 from 12:00 – 4:30 pm. More information is on the OMCA website.

– And of course, the celebration of celebrations, the San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade, the largest such event outside Asia, will be held on Saturday February 19, to mark the end of the two week New Year holiday. The parade has been a San Francisco tradition since the 1860s. Details about performances and schedule are here.

– On February 21, President’s Day, the Bay Area Discovery Museum in Marin will hold their annual New Year celebration, where you can:

Decorate a lucky red envelope in the Art Studio. Make your own traditional sweet pastry and we’ll cook it for you. Purchase a ticket to see a vibrant performance by the Chinese Performing Arts of America Youth Group and don’t miss the outdoor demonstrations by the spectacular lion dancers of the Dragon Horse Lion Dance Team and the Marin Chinese Cultural Association.

Details and schedules here.

恭喜发财!And Happy Year of the Rabbit!

[Photo: San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade, By Derrick S., via flickr Creative Commons license]