Chinese New Year Family Festival

Posted on Wed., Feb. 2, 2011 by Lisa Blackburn
Lion Dance. Photo by Martha Benedict.
A performance by lion dancers and drummers near the north entrance to the Chinese garden. Photo by Martha Benedict.

In Chinese culture, the most important of all holidays is Chinese New Year. It begins on the first day of the first month according to the lunar calendar (Feb. 3 this year), and the festivities continue for several weeks thereafter. To help kick off the new year, The Huntington will host its annual Chinese New Year Family Festival on Feb. 5–6. The weather promises to be spectacular! The festivities get under way on Saturday at 11 a.m. with an exuberant performance by lion dancers and drummers near the north entrance to the Chinese garden. Other activities on Saturday and Sunday will include Chinese shadow puppet theater, mask-changing (bian lian) performances, music, folk songs, children's book readings, and painting and calligraphy demonstrations. A full slate of events can be found on The Huntington's website.

The Huntington's Chinese garden, the Garden of Flowing Fragrance, will be one of the focal points of the festival, including musical performances of a string and bamboo orchestra as well as a Chinese music ensemble from the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music.

On Saturday only, the Entrance Pavilion of The Huntington will feature a traditional flower market, with colorful stalls of cut flowers and blooming plants for sale. A number of flowers have special New Year's significance in Chinese culture, including plum blossoms (symbolizing the beginning of spring), peonies (prosperity), narcissus (longevity), and other blooms such as orchids, forsythia, camellias, and golden mums. Many of these will be offered at the event, subject to seasonal availability.

So come out and help celebrate the Year of the Rabbit!

Events begin at 11 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 5 and 6, and run until 4:30 p.m. The grounds open at 10:30 a.m.

Lisa Blackburn is communications coordinator at The Huntington.