Lunar New Year events in Portland: Celebrations, performances

The Lunar New Year begins on Jan. 22 and ushers in the Year of the Rabbit. For many around the world, celebrations mark the time of a fresh start.

PORTLAND, Ore. — People around the world and in the Pacific Northwest are preparing to usher in the Year of the Rabbit. The Lunar New Year falls on Jan. 22 and there are a number of events going on to help people ring in a new year.

In China, the new year brings the official start of spring, so it is known as the Spring Festival. The Lunar New Year is also sometimes called Chinese New Year, in reference to the Chinese lunar calendar, but the holiday is observed by different countries across the world so it is known by many different names.

While holiday traditions vary depending on culture, family is often the focus of celebrations and many people try to welcome the year with a fresh start.

Below is a look at some of the events happening around the Portland/Vancouver area.

Lunar New Year celebration at Lan Su Chinese Garden

When: Jan 21-Feb 5
Where: Lan Su Chinese Garden at 239 NW Everett St., Portland
The Lan Su Chinese Garden’s 16-day festival features a number of performances and workshops along with traditional lantern viewings in the evenings. The festival kicks off with a free lion dance performance at the garden’s Entrance Plaza at 9:30 am on Jan. 21. During the festival, there will also be a lineup of martial arts and cultural performances by the Portland Chinese Dance Troup and the Vancouver Jasmine Dance Troupe. The lantern viewings run Jan 26-29 and Feb 2-5. Visitors can see the hanging red lanterns and lantern sculptures illuminate the garden between 5 pm-6:30 pm and 7 pm-8:30 pm Additional tickets are required for the lantern viewings.

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Chinese New Year Cultural Fair

When: Jan 21, 11am-5pm
Exhibit Hall A of the Oregon Convention Center at 777 NE Martin Luther Kind Jr Blvd, Portland
What: The fair at the Oregon Convention Center will have traditional and contemporary cultural activities including a lion dance and other Chinese folk dances, Chinese martial arts demonstrations and children friendly games.

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Lunar New Year Celebration at Milwaukie Community Center

When: Jan 22, noon to 2 pm
Where: Milwaukie Community Center at 5440 SE Kellogg Creek Dr., Milwaukie
Visitors can learn about Lunar New Year traditions for free through drum and cymbal performances, lion dance performances and crafts.

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Dragon dance parade and celebration

When: Jan 28, 10am-1pm
Parade starts at Northwest Third Avenue and Davis Street, Portland
Lion dancers and performers will march through the streets of Portland with a 150-foot dragon. The parade weaves through the Old Town and downtown neighborhoods before going up Southwest Third Avenue up to the Oregon Historical Society Park Plaza.

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Lunar New Year Celebration at Washington Square

When: Jan 28, 11am-4pm
Where: Summit Court at Washington Square Mall at 9585 SW Washington Square Rd., Portland
Shoppers at Washington Square Mall can mark Lunar New Year by making crafts, watching dance performances and listening to traditional stories. Or they can express hope for good fortune by hanging a red ribbon on the wishing tree, which is traditionally believed to bring good luck.

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Vancouver Chinese Association hosts Chinese New Year Celebration Gala

When: Jan 28, 5pm-9pm
Where: Skyview High School at 130 NW 139 St., Vancouver, Washington
What: After moving the celebration online for the past few years, this year’s gala will return in person to Skyview High School. People can enjoy food and games, along with colorful stage performances. Tickets cost $15.

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What does the Year of the Rabbit mean?

Each year is represented after one of the 12 Chinese zodiac signs. This year is the year of the rabbit. The rabbit is the fourth animal of the lunar zodiac and it represents peaceful and patient energy, according to Chinese astrology. Those who are born under the year of the rabbit are generally considered gentle, creative and artistic people.