San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade (credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Welcome to the year of the Monkey: 2016. According to the Chinese Zodiac, the year of the Monkey begins February 8, 2016 and ends January 27, 2017. The Monkey, the ninth sign in the Chinese Zodiac, symbolizes an ambitious, confident, compassionate personality, and people born during a Monkey year are considered intelligent and but stubborn. Celebrate the New Year at cultural events happening around the San Francisco Bay Area.
Southwest Airlines Chinese New Year Festival & Parade
Starts at intersection of 2nd and Market Sts.
San Francisco, CA 94105
Date: Feb. 20 at 5:30 p.m.
Grab your friends and head to the city to be a part of the Southwest Airlines Chinese New Year Festival & Parade. A San Francisco tradition from just after the Gold Rush, this is one of the largest Chinese New Year celebrations in the world and one of the few existing nighttime illuminated parades in the country. One thing is certain: nowhere in the world will you see a lunar New Year parade with more stunning floats and costumes. More than 100 units will participate, plus parading lions, ubiquitous firecrackers and the newly crowned Miss Chinatown. The unanimous crowd-pleasing favorite is the 268-foot Golden Dragon (“Gum Lung”). The dragon is so impressively large that it takes “over 100 men and women from a martial arts group to carry it through the San Francisco streets.” Find information on where to purchase tickets for parade route bleacher seating and the Miss Chinatown U.S.A. Pageant and Ball, plus complete festival details and schedule at the parade website. See the parade route here.
Veterans Memorial Building
1351 Maple Ave.
Santa Rosa, CA 95402
Date: Feb. 20 at 5 p.m.
Celebrate the Lunar New Year at the RECA (Redwood Empire Chinese Association) Annual Chinese New Year Celebration and Fundraiser, sponsored by this popular Santa Rosa cultural association. The celebration is on Saturday, February 20th at the Veterans Memorial Building in Santa Rosa, beginning at 5 p.m. Party plans include music, dance, martial arts, dragons and lions. Bring in the New Year with cultural festivities, a buffet dinner and a raffle and silent auction. Visit the RECA website to view and download the celebration flyer with complete contact information. Purchase your tickets beforehand, as no tickets will be sold at the door.
Quarryhill Botancial Garden
12841 Sonoma Highway
Glen Ellen, CA 95442
Quarryhill Botanical Garden is a world-renowned botanical institution resplendent with beautiful living examples of the stunning yet threatened flora of East Asia. Plan a visit to these lush gardens during Lunar New Year to enjoy the many rare and endangered garden species from Asia, plus more familiar names such as oaks, maples, magnolias, dogwoods, lilies and roses, to name a few well-represented garden dwellers. Due to its increased efforts to acquire rare and vanishing species from China and Japan, Quarryhill is home to one of the largest collections of “wild-source Asian plants in North America and Europe.” Quarryhill Garden is also an education center, with lectures and workshops for adults and tours available for elementary school-age children. Visit and tour the garden on your own, or schedule a docent tour to get acquainted with the different garden areas. Check the Quarryhill website for complete information to plan a visit.