The Chinese New Year falls on a different day each year depending on the cycles of the moon and the sun. The Chinese year 4712 (this year) begins on Jan. 31, 2014, and with it San Francisco will be celebrating with extravagance! Chinese New Year festivities traditionally last for 15 days, thus will be hosted throughout the first couple weeks of February in San Francisco. At Chinese New Year celebrations people wear red clothes and give children “lucky money” in red envelopes – celebrate these Chinese New Year events in San Francisco in true Chinese style with bright red attire!
When: January 25
Where: Grant Ave. from California to Pacific Ave.
Kick off the Chinese New Year with a procession that gives a taste of what the larger Lunar New Year parade will bring. The Southwest Airlines Mini-Procession begins at historic St. Mary’s Square, follows the original parade route down Grant Avenue, and proceeds to the Flower Fair’s main stage on Washington below Grant. The procession will include lion dancers, giant walking puppets, costumed stilt walkers, drummers and dancers. Following the procession, the City dignitaries will join honored guests in officially opening the Festival with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The event is is free and starts at 10:30am.
When: January 25 & 26
Where: Grant Ave. and Pacific Ave.
The Chinese New Year Flower Fair is free and all ages are welcome to prepare for the Lunar New Year with San Francisco’s Chinese community. Every year the Chinese community packs Grant Avenue and Pacific Avenue for the annual Chinese New Year Flower Fair, for their chance to pick up traditional flowers to help celebrate the future year. The fair brings out a crowd of about 400,000 people and features food, gifts, and live entertainment…and of course many beautiful flowers including: orchids, snapdragons, bamboo, and chrysanthemums.
When: February 8
Where: Palace of Fine Arts Theater (3301 Lyon Street)
Young women from throughout the United States have come to San Francisco to compete for prizes and scholarships in the annual Miss Chinatown USA Pageant for over 50 years. The winners become goodwill ambassadors for the Chinese community throughout the new year. This years event is held on February 8th – ticket prices vary.
About a week later, the winner of the pageant is crowned at Harrah’s Miss Chinatown USA Coronation Ball at the San Francisco Hilton & Towers. The Coronation Ball features cocktails, dinner, dancing, and a chance to see the new Miss Chinatown crowned in all her glory.
When: February 8
Where: Betty Ann Ong Chinese Rec Center (Mason & Washington Street)
The Chinese community will kick off the Year of the Horse with six exciting basketball games. The kids on the teams are from the San Francisco Middle Schools and the greater San Francisco Chinese-American communities. This popular basketball jamboree is celebrating its 21th year! Bring your family and friends and enjoy a great day of fun and slam dunk moments!
When: February 9
Where: Starts at Sacramento & Grant
Join 1000′s of runners & walkers at the 36th Annual Chinatown YMCA Chinese New Year Run, taking place on Sunday, Feb. 9th, 2014. Costumes reflecting the Year of the Horse encouraged! The run route starts at Sacramento and Grant, winds its way through Chinatown and North Beach, and finishes on Kearny near Portsmouth Square.
When: February 15 & 16
Where: Market & Second Street to Kearny & Jackson
Named one of the top ten Parades in the world by the International Festivals and Events Association (IFEA), the Southwest Airlines Chinese New Year Parade in San Francisco is one of the grandest night illuminated Parades in the country. Started in the 1860’s by the Chinese in San Francisco as a means to educate the community about their culture, the Parade and Festival have grown to be the largest celebration of Asian culture outside of Asia. Parade highlights include elaborate floats, lion dancers, folk dancers, costumed elementary school groups, marching bands, stilt walkers, Chinese acrobats, and a 268 foot long Golden Dragon.