The winter months can be long once all of the holiday celebrating is over. If you’re looking for something exciting to do in February, Portland Chinese New Year festivities are lots of fun for the entire family.
2016 is the Year of the Monkey (by the way, people born in the Year of the Monkey are said to be outspoken, charming, and quick-witted people). Chinese New Year is a colorful, joyful festival that’s full of interesting things to see and do. Here are some of the best Chinese New Year festivities happening in Portland this year.
Lan Su Chinese Garden
Lan Su Chinese Garden is one of Portland’s most interesting sites. It’s actually the result of a collaboration between Portland and the city of Suzhou, China (which is famous for its stunning Ming Dynasty gardens). Lan Su is a beautiful botanical garden, but it’s more than that— it’s based on ancient Chinese traditions of harmony, art, and architecture, so it’s a very tranquil place.
Lan Su’s Portland Chinese New Year celebration is two full weeks long, and the fun starts on February 8. The opening event is a traditional good fortune activity called “Rolling in the Wealth.” Guests will roll gold coins and oranges through Lan Su’s front door. This activity is followed by a traditional lion dance performance. Other events throughout the week include calligraphy, flower arranging, and martial arts presentations. For more information about Lan Su’s events, go here.
The celebrating ends with four evenings of lantern viewing, when the garden glows with 150 red lanterns over the lake. The Portland Lee’s Association Dragon & Lion Dance Team leads the procession. Other community partners, including the Portland Chinese Dance Troupe, come together to put on an impressive show, which you can buy tickets for here.
Chinese New Year Cultural Fair
The seventeenth annual Portland Chinese New Year Cultural Fair is on Saturday, February 6, at the Oregon Convention Center. It features a variety of activities and cultural performances, along with delicious Chinese food. Here’s what you can look forward to:
- Chinese food, including dim sum and bubble tea
- Chinese lion dancing, folk dancing, and martial arts
- Chinese calligraphy, face painting, and balloons
Get more information and tickets for the event here. And check out these great pictures of last year’s event (it was the Year of the Sheep).
Oregon Historical Society Parade
On Sunday, February 7, there will be a dragon dance and parade in downtown Portland. The mile-long parade will start at the corner of NW Davis and 4th Avenue and will go through Chinatown to the Oregon Historical Society. Once the parade concludes, the celebrating will start, including tea, treats, and lion dance performances by local teams. Get more info and the parade route here.
Green Bean Books
Children’s author Shan-Shan Chen and illustrator Heidi Goodman will do a reading of Mei-Mei’s Lucky Birthday Noodles. A free Chinese New Year craft will follow. The fun happens on Sunday, February 7. Go here for more information.
Portland Chinese New Year
Portland is a great place to enjoy participating in this ancient Chinese festival. It’s a time to celebrate good fortune and new beginnings. It’s also traditionally an opportunity to honor one’s ancestors and to enjoy being together with family.
Featured image: “IMG_6418” (CC BY-ND 2.0) by sstrieu