7 Family Friendly Lunar New Year’s Events – Gung Hay Fat Choy

year of snake free clip artFamily Friendly Events to Usher in the Year of the Snake. February 17 – 23, 2013. San Francisco, Oakland, Redwood City. 

2013 is the year of the snake. Thanks to Scholastic Books I know a thing or two about snakes. During his picture book years my son had a steadfast fascination with snakes. That meant that I read a lot of books about snakes.

I am sure it won’t surprise you that my favorite snake fact centers on its odd eating habits. Did you know there are snakes that dine on entire wild pigs, turtles, capybara,  jaguars and even deer? The snakes’ jaws are connected by elastic ligaments, which allow them to swallow dinner whole, sometimes lasting them for weeks or even months before they need another meal.

This bit of trivia slithered into my brain and has never left. It seemed a lot like my son’s eating style. No elastic ligaments, or eating mammals whole, but he was a diffident eater who would eat one large meal and then not eat for what seemed like days but probably was just a missed meal or two. Perhaps you have or had a picky eater so you know what I mean.

Anyway, thinking about snakes makes me nostalgic for cuddling up with my son and reading picture books. Or more accurate, lying on his bed with him while my husband read. I loved that nightly ritual. It was so relaxing which might explain why I never heard the end of a book. Zzzzz.  It is tiring being a Mom!

As for the here and now, keep in mind the snake symbolizes wisdom, intelligence and self-control. It represents the ability to strike at will, quickly and powerfully. This year of the snake could be very interesting indeed.

Gung Hay Fat Choy. Check out all the fun events around the Bay to celebrate Chinese New Year.


•    Lunar New Year Celebration at SF Botanical Garden. 9th Ave at Lincoln Way, Golden Gate Park. February,2013 at 11 am-3 pm; February 17,2013 at 9-11:30 am. Click here for directions and parking information.

Bring the family and enjoy lion and dragon dances, Chinese and Asian folk dances, new year stories for kids, and tai chi demos and mini-lessons. Bonus: Golden Gate Park is awash in cherry blossoms and blooming magnolias. Check out  the botanical garden’s gorgeous floral explosion.

Free with proof of San Francisco residence; $7 for non-residents.

•    Lunar New Year at the SF Zoo.  February 17,2013. 10 am-3 pm. Click here for directions and parking information.

The SF Zoo is celebrating the New Year with acrobats, lion and folk dancing, Chinese yo-yo tricks, and a Chinese-zodiac-animals scavenger hunt and more. Bonus: Watch a live feeding at the green anaconda exhibit.

Free for people born in snake years (1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001 and 2013).
Everyone else, activities free with zoo admission.

•    Lunar New Year Celebration at Oakland Museum. 1000 Oak St., Oakland 94607. February 17,2013.12-4:30 pm. Click here for directions and parking information.

Check out this Asian multicultural new year celebration with lion dancing, mochi pounding, Red Panda Acrobats, martial arts demos, Balinese dancers,and a fiery dragon dance. Learn Gangnam-style Korean moves, make your own Tibetan prayer flags and craft New Year “lucky money” red envelopes to take home. Bonus: Face painting by Chinese Opera artists.

Activities included with regular museum admission.

•    Lunar New Year in Redwood City. Courthouse Square, 2200 Broadway St., Redwood City. February 23, 2013. 11 am-4 pm.

Acrobats, lion dances, music, martial arts, taiko drumming, kid-oriented arts and crafts, and food. Bonus: San Mateo County History Museum Free on February 23, 2013. map


•    Chinatown Community Street Fair. Grant Ave., from California to Broadway; and on Pacific Ave., Washington and Jackson streets from Kearny to Stockton. February 23, 2013. 10 am-4:30 pm; February 24, 2013. 9 am-5 pm

Celebrate the New Year with calligraphy, fortune-telling, roving giant puppets, shopping and a stage with acrobatics, folk dancing, lion dancing and other entertainment.


•    Chinese Culture Center Spring Festival. 750 Kearny St.  February 23 and 24, 2013. 11 am-3 pm

Exhibits, crafts, New Year food samples, a bilingual riddle game, prizes, and performances of martial arts and folk and classical dances, all indoors. Bonus: demonstration by paper-cutting artist Hou Yumei (she is designing a mural for the Chinatown Central Subway.)


•    Chinese New Year Parade. Starts at Market and Second streets; ends at Kearny and Jackson. February 23, 2013. 5:15-8 pm

The Chinese New Year Parade is not to be missed. Decorated floats, lion dancers, marching bands and drill teams, stilt walkers, and the 270-foot-long Golden Dragon (“gum lung” in Cantonese). Considered one of the top ten parades in the world.

Free. Bleacher seats $30.


Just when I was feeling bummed by my failure to keep my new year’s resolution another “new year” pops up on the calendar.  How lucky is that? Just thinking of all that fresh start makes me smile.

In the spirit of this lunar new year, wear new clothes in good-luck-color red, don’t argue, and don’t use knives or sharp objects. Remember to give children hong bao, red envelopes with money inside.

Wishing you good fortune, robust health, longevity, happiness and prosperity. 新年快

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