Friday, February 4, 2011

The Year of the Rabbit: Ideas for Celebrating Chinese New Year Around LA

Celebrate China

With the White House putting on a full-blown State Dinner for the Chinese president a few weeks back, it's an exciting time to celebrate all things Chinese - something that is particularly easy to do in Southern California. The main attraction of the weekend is the Golden Dragon parade in Chinatown, part of a two-day festival that we attended a few years ago (see below for details). The Huntington's Flowering Fragrance Garden is worth a trip to Pasadena, and we know little kids will adore the extensive activities put on at the Huntington this weekend. Finally, we've always loved throwing our own version of the holiday by decorating with Chinese lanterns, serving some great Chinese food and learning about another culture's tradition.

Chinese New Year in Chinatown: The celebrations began Wednesday night at Chuan Thien Hau (Cam Au) Temple, as the Chinese community welcomed the Year of the Rabbit. The 12th Annual Golden Dragon Parade takes place this Saturday (2/5 at 1:00 PM) with floats and marching bands, thousands of spectators and a street festival ongoing throughout the weekend. Click here for our Popcorn Adventure about the event, which we paired with a wonderful movie about a boy learning to play the violin called Together. Click here for event details from the Chinatown website.

Chinese New Year at the Huntington: Celebrate with lion dancers, musical and art demonstrations and a scavenger hunt for kids at a two day celebration of the Year of the Rabbit this Saturday and Sunday (2/5-2/6) at the Huntington Gardens. Click here for details. And, here is our Popcorn Adventure about the wonderful Flowering Fragrance Garden, a Chinese garden which opened three years ago at the Huntington. We paired it with Kung Fu Panda, a beautiful animated film that explores Chinese culture in the course of an exciting action story.

Photography from China: Currently on view at the Getty is an interesting exhibit of contemporary photography from artists working in China. Photography from the New China contains some images that may be inappropriate for small children (including some nudity) but the exhibit offers a rare glimpse into what the cultural elite are producing in China. For a more traditional view, check out an exhibit that explores the origins of photography in China, Brush and Shutter: Early Photography in China. This show opens at the Getty on February 8.

Throw a Chinese New Year's Party: Invite a group of kids over and serve Chinese food. It's interesting for kids to learn how another culture celebrates a new year, and most party stores will help you set the mood with red lanterns and coin envelopes. For a meal, the ambitious foodies can attempt a complex recipe while others might prefer to bring in some yummy take-out. Click here to learn a bit more about the traditions of this holiday. For food ideas, click over to Cookstr, where you'll find 10 Recipes for the Chinese New Year.

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