Celebrate the Chinese New Year in Charlotte
Celebrate the Year of the Dragon this Lunar New Year.
by Alice Lee Feb 02, 2024
Feb. 10, 2024 marks the official start of Chinese New Year, commonly known as Lunar New Year or Spring Festival. 2024 is the “Year of the Dragon.” The dragon is the fifth animal in the Chinese Zodiac, symbolizing good luck, justice, prosperity and strength.
Filled with symbolism, luck and rituals, Chinese New Year practices date back millennia, connecting people to both ancestors and culture. Celebrate and welcome the Chinese New Year with these Chinese traditions throughout the Charlotte area.
Tidy Up and Decorate
A key element of starting off the Chinese New Year is a thorough house cleaning on the eve of the Spring Festival. This cleaning allows for a “sweeping away of bad luck” from the previous year and sets up the home to receive good luck in the new year.
Implementing and featuring red décor, the primary festival color, symbolizes prosperity and energy to ward off evil spirits and negativity. Hanging lanterns, paper cuttings of Chinese words and animals, and door signs will usher in good luck and happiness.
Grand Asia Market in Stallings and Super G Mart in East Charlotte and Pineville carry traditional red decor to usher in the good luck of the new year.
Eat a Reunion Dinner
Held on Chinese New Year’s Eve, Feb. 9 this year, reunion dinners bring families together with food served in abundance, blessed with good fortune, inviting spirits of ancestors to join in the festivities.
Making and eating dumplings on Chinese New Year's Eve is a very important tradition in China, as the dish symbolizes replacing the old with the new. The 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 with dishes inspired by family recipes from Sun’s father, passed down for generations. The team at Sun's Kitchen makes these dumplings entirely from scratch and even offers a Dumpling Flight that features a variety of flavors.
For authentic hot pot and dumplings, Bao Bao in Huntersville serves dishes like Sheng Jian Bao, Xiao Long Bao and Jiang Rou Bao.
Find Chinese New Year desserts, like sesame seed balls, at East Charlotte’s Hong Kong Bakery tucked inside the Super G Mart.
Learn a Dragon Dance
Symbolizing power, wisdom and superiority, performing a lion dance brings about good fortune and chases away bad spirits. When performed during the Chinese New Year, the dance is intended to bring prosperity and good luck.
The lion dance is one of the most important traditions during the Lunar New Year, creating a festive atmosphere and delighting all who watch. Lion dances are performed by dancers in a lion costume who become the head and body of the lion. The lion head is typically oversized and dragon-like, and the music is made by beating drums, clashing cymbals and hitting gongs.
Watch a lion dance in person at the Mint Museum Uptown’s Mint 2 Move Cultural Dance Night, on Friday, Feb. 9, or at one of Queen City Lion Dance’s performances. The Chinese American Association of Charlotte will also feature a lion dance during the 2024 Chinese New Year Gala on Saturday, Feb. 10.
Send Loved Ones Well Wishes
It’s custom to share blessings with family and friends during the Spring Festival 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.
Other customary gifts include tea and food, like fruit baskets with apples and oranges which symbolize safety and fortune. These gifts can be picked up in stores throughout the Queen City, such as Oriental Foods in east Charlotte and Kim Anh Oriental Groceries & Gifts.
More Lunar New Year Events in Charlotte
Charlotte Mecklenburg Library has several events to celebrate the Lunar New Year. Learn how to make paper lanterns and spring rolls at STEAM 101: Lunar New Year Edition at Myers Park Library on Wednesday, Feb. 7. Allegra Westbrooks Regional Library hosts Cultural Exploration: Lunar New Year 2024, teaching adults and children alike about the ways different Asian countries celebrate the new year, on Thursday, Feb. 8. University City Regional Library will have a Lunar New Year Family Storytime on Saturday, Feb. 10 for babies and toddlers.
Resident Culture Brewing will give out red envelopes filled with goodies at its Lunar New Year celebration at the Plaza Midwood location on Saturday, Feb. 3 and the South End location on Sunday, Feb. 4. Devil’s Logic Brewing will celebrate the Year of the Dragon with a performance from Queen City Lion Dance, as well as firecrackers, Asian-inspired food and more, on Feb. 10.