Chinese New Year Preview

According to my trusty international holiday calendar, complete with lunar cycles, this Sunday is the first new moon and therefore the start of the Chinese New Year! 2006 is the Year of the Dog, and the celebration usually lasts for fifteen days.

The annual Chinese New Year Parade in Chinatown is next Sunday, February 5. Festivities are always a blast (fireworks at 3:30pm), with the lion and dragon dances a standout. The parade is a true delight, running from 2-5pm on H Street NW between 6th and 8th.

But if you’d like to kick-off the celebration this weekend, you can hit the Freer Gallery for a tour of the Arts of China. Meet at the information desk at 1:15pm this Sunday. Both the Freer and the Sackler make up the Asian Arts branch of the Smithsonian and always have fascinating exhibitions. Currently the Sackler is hosting an installation by Chinese-American artist Mei-ling Hom, “Floating Mountains, Singing Clouds,” while the Freer has “100 Years of Tea,” a showing of ceramics related to the tea ceremony.

And there’s always your own private tea ceremony at Georgetown’s Ching Ching Cha, the loveliest oasis in the city.

End the celebrations with the Chinese New Year Gala, held at the National Theater with a revue called “Myths and Legends,” which from the pictures alone looks to be worth a trip. It’s on February 16 and 17 at 8pm.

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