Arts & Culture

How to Celebrate the Chinese New Year in Charlotte

Lunar New Year is the biggest celebration of the year for many Asian countries.

February 12, 2021, marks the official start of Chinese New Year, also commonly known as Lunar New Year or Spring Festival. 2021 is the “Year of the Ox,” which is a highly respected and valued animal in the Chinese zodiac, known for its strength, persistence, honesty and positivity. The ox’s attributes are believed to manifest itself upon everyone throughout the new year. To celebrate and welcome the Chinese New Year, you can partake in a number of Chinese traditions and also virtual or in-person events throughout the Charlotte area.

Eat a Reunion Dinner from Sun's Kitchen

Neighborhood: Wesley Heights

Dumpling flight - Photo courtesy of Sun's Kitchen

Owner of Sun's Kitchen, Brian Sun, who grew up on the streets of Beijing, has brought the sights and smells of Chinese street food culture to the Queen City. All of the dishes on the menu have been inspired by his dad's family recipes passed down from generations.

Making and eating dumplings on Chinese New Year's Eve is a very important tradition in China. The dish symbolizes replacing the old with the new. At Sun's Kitchen, their team makes these dumplings entirely from scratch. If you can't decide which dumpling to order, try their Dumpling Flight with five different flavors.

Other staple dishes on Sun's Kitchen's menu include Ja Jang Noodles, Ma-La Noodles and the Beef Stew Rice Bowl. Two new dishes that the team introduced are the Beef Noodle and the Dried Pepper Chicken. No matter what you order, there are dishes to suit all tastes.

Watch Three Stripes Lion Dance

Neighborhood: Varies


From February 6-14, Three Stripes Lion Dance will perform at various businesses across Charlotte to ring in the new year. The traditional lion dance is said to bring prosperity and good luck. Check out their tour schedule for dates and times for these free, in-person performances.

Tidy Up and Decorate Your Home

Area: Stallings, NC

Chinese decor - Photo courtesy of Alice Lee

Start the Chinese New Year off right by tidying your home and sweeping away last year’s bad luck before Feb. 12. Once your home is sparkling clean, it’s time to decorate with a lot of red to bring good luck, happiness and fortune. Hanging lanterns, paper cuttings of Chinese words and animals and door signs will usher in good luck and happiness. You can pick up these beautiful decorations from New Asia Market in Stallings, North Carolina. As an added bonus, if you spend more than $100 at the market, you’ll receive a free Chinese calendar, chopsticks and bowls (while supplies last).

Join CAAOC's Chinese New Year Celebration

Photo courtesy of the Chinese American Association of Charlotte

This year’s event hosted by the Chinese American Association of Charlotte (CAAOC) will be virtual. On Feb. 13, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. ET, CAAOC will be hosting a virtual Chinese New Year celebration with singing, dancing, musical performances, magic shows and more. A Zoom link will be added closer to the event date.

Watch Hung Gar Kung Fu Academy’s Lion Dance Performances

Neighborhood: South Charlotte (Super G Mart) and North Charlotte (Asian Corner Mall)

Send Loved Ones Well Wishes

It’s custom to share your blessings with family and friends during the Chinese celebration. One way to do that is to gift them money in lucky red envelopes as a symbol of love and well wishes during Chinese New Year, and other special occasions like weddings, graduations and birthdays.

Try Your Hand at Making Chinese Dishes

Neighborhood: Varies

Handmade dumplings - Photo courtesy of Alice Lee

Chinese New Year is the perfect opportunity to try new recipes, like making dumplings from scratch. Find the ingredients you need from Asian grocery stores across town including:

Per a COVID-19-related Mecklenburg County health directive issued Jan. 12, 2021, please note that some businesses may have modified their hours of operation and changed procedures in order to comply with CDC and Mecklenburg County Health Department guidelines. Please wear a mask, limit any non-essential activities and refrain from gathering with anyone outside of your household.