Get ready for lions and tigers and rats at NorthPark Center at Chinese New Year, a fabulous celebration of the Year of the Rat on Saturday, February 1.
Coordinated by the Crow Museum of Asian Art, the festival presents “a total immersion that is equal parts fun, entertaining, educational, and inspiring,” enthuses Caroline Kim, development director at the museum.
Music and dance performances, including the magical split-second mask changing of Sichuan opera, will be presented from 11AM to 4PM on Level One in NorthCourt. In addition, interactive activities will be percolating throughout the mall.
You’ll be able to sample hand-pulled noodles, play with roaming lion dancers, write an aspiration and hang it on a wishing tree, create a Chinese New Year floral arrangement, shop artisanal Asian goods, and much more.
“It transcends all ages, demographics, and backgrounds,” Kim points out. “No matter how familiar you are with Chinese New Year or culture, you’ll have a good time, learn something, and you’ll want to come back next year.”
On top of that, dozens of merchants are getting into the spirit with special treats, gifts, or discounts on February 1.
Chinese New Year is an ancient tradition that begins on the first new moon that appears on or after January 21. Lasting two weeks, it has inspired similar celebrations in neighboring Asian nations and in Chinese communities around the world.
The Year of the Rat is auspicious because the rat is the first animal in the 12-year cycle of the Chinese zodiac, so it represents a time of new beginnings and opportunities.
In Chinese astrology, which is based on the orbit of Jupiter, the rat is a symbol of abundance and fertility.
(Just as Western astrology ascribes people with star signs, everyone has a corresponding animal in the Chinese zodiac. Rats were born in the years 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, and 2008. The other animals in order are ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig.)
The museum partners with organizations and individuals throughout the community to create a joyous, authentic festival.
“We really let them lead us and let us know what will be most impactful,” Kim explains.
For instance, Chinese New Year decorations include red paper cuts that symbolize good fortune and prosperity, and you’ll be able to make your own paper cuts during the celebration at NorthPark.
The Crow Museum has presented Chinese New Year festivities every year since it first opened in 1998. It relocated the popular jubilee to NorthPark in 2018.
“NorthPark is so generous with time and resources and staff and understanding how important this is for the community,” Kim says. “We try to activate as much of the shopping center as possible.”
For the complete list of events, activities, and retailer offers, visit our Chinese New Year event page.