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Year of the Tiger: Celebrate Lunar New Year in Philadelphia

The Year of the Tiger is almost here! Find ways to celebrate The Lunar New Year in Philadelphia.

lunar new year philadelphia

On February 1st, we will officially be exiting The Year of the Ox and entering The Year of the Tiger. The Tiger is associated with active energy, adventure, and risk-taking.

Bring out your own inner tiger this year as you celebrate the Lunar New Year in or around Philadelphia. Take a look at some of our favorite in-person and virtual Lunar New Year-themed events!

Check out our Philadelphia Family Calendar for more upcoming family events in the Philadelphia area.

Looking for something fun to do in Bucks County or around the Main Line? Get some ideas from our calendars on Bucks County Parent and Main Line Parent.

Lunar New Year Virtual Storytime

Tuesday, January 25, 4:00 pm – 4:45 pm

Gladwyne Library, 362 Righters Mill Road, Gladwyne

Celebrate Chinese New Year, a little early, with a craft and a bilingual story time. The craft will be a grab and go bag and the story time is a live Zoom event. So, join the Gladwyne Library January 25th at 4 pm. Registration required to receive the Zoom link. Families welcome.

Lunar New Year Family Arts Festival

January 29, 11:00 am – 2:00 pm

Main Line Art Center – 746 Panmure Rd, Haverford

Celebrate the Year of The Tiger at the Lunar New Year Family Arts Festival. This free family arts festival will feature performances by The Philadelphia Sons Lion Dance Troop, Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers, Wolf Performing Arts Center, hands-on artmaking for all ages, festive traditions, games, food trucks and more!

The event will take place outside in the parking lot weather permitting.

While you are there be sure to visit the exhibition, Lunar: A New Year, on view in their galleries through February 27. Curator Adam Chau has invited twelve abstract and conceptual artists to create a piece depicting an animal from the Zodiac calendar. The featured artists represent diverse Asian cultures and communities, each celebrating the Lunar New Year in nuanced ways.

Registration is required.

Lunar New Year Celebration

January 29, 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Dilworth Park – 1 S 15th Street, Philadelphia

Rothman Orthopaedics Ice Rink visitors are invited to celebrate Lunar New Year! Sponsored by Temple University’s Klein College of Media and Communications, guests are invited to celebrate Lunar New Year with a prancing lion, traditional Chinese dancers and a delicious menu in the Rothman Orthopaedics Cabin. Ice skating sessions will be available throughout the evening.

Dumplings Intensive – Ages 8-14

February 1, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

Hudson Table – 1001 N 2nd Street Unit 01, Philadelphia

Join Hudson Table for this fun dumplings class! Kids will make 3 different savory dumplings and a dessert dumpling. They’ll learn different dumpling styles, and how to both steam and fry dumplings. You’ll make 2 types of dipping sauces to go along with them!

Penn Wynne Library Lunar New Year Crafts

Through February 1, 10:00 am – 9:00 pm

Penn Wynne Library, 130 Overbrook Parkway, Wynnewood

Come celebrate the Year of the Tiger at Penn Wynne Library with crafts! Make a red lantern, a tiger, and learn about your Chinese zodiac. No registration required. Craft supplies and instructions will be available on the tables in the Children’s Room to use on your own.

February Kids Club: Chinese New Year Lanterns

February 5, 10:00 am – 1:30 pm

The Tacony LAB Community Arts Center – 6918 Torresdale Avenue, Philadelphia

One day workshop – Chinese New Year Lantern

The Tacony LAB’s classes are unique in Philadelphia: they do not charge tuition or any sort of fees for any of their classes. Classes are popular and often have wait-lists. If you enroll in a class, please commit to attending it!

How to enroll in a Tacony LAB class:

You may enroll IN PERSON at the LAB beginning 3 weeks before a class first meets. Please check the “About” section of the LAB’s Facebook page for open hours or call the LAB at 267-686-7420 to hear the hours.

Lunar New Year Lion Dance

February 5, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Reading Terminal Market Center Court – 51 N. 12th Street, Philadelphia

Performers from the Philadelphia Suns will do a traditional Lion Dance through Reading Terminal Market to celebrate Lunar New Year.

The group will parade through the aisles, stopping at Tambayan, Tea Leaf, Sang Kee Peking Duck, Four Seasons Juice Bar, and Little Thai Market to enjoy a head of cabbage. It is Chinese custom for the lion to eat cabbage during the dance because it symbolizes wealth and the lion then shares that prosperity with the audience.

Please note: Masks are required inside Reading Terminal Market. All performers will be fully masked for the duration of the event and the same is expected of all attendees.

Chinese New Year Banquet

February 25, 5:00 pm – 8:30 pm

Crane Center – 1001 Vine Street, Chinatown, Philadelphia

Please join the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation as they welcome in The Year of the Tiger, which represents courage, adventure, kindness, and determination. To assure the health and safety of everyone in attendance, we kindly request all guests to provide proof of full COVID-19 vaccination. Full COVID-19 vaccination means the day of the event is at least 14 days after your final vaccine dose. Two shots if you received the Moderna and/or Pfizer, one shot for Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

Chinese Lunar New Year Celebration 2022 – 虎年春节联欢

March 5, 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm (RESCHEDULED FROM FEBRUARY 5)

Parkway Central Library – 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia

Come celebrate the Spring Festival which will welcome in the Year of Tiger at the Parkway Central Library! In Montgomery Auditorium, you will experience martial arts, folk music, Chinese opera, and the dances from across multiple historical dynasties. In the galleries, they will highlight the beauty and harmony of these community collaborations with a Chinese water ink calligraphy demonstration.

We hope that you and your family enjoy this year’s Lunar New Year festivities!

We almost always celebrate at home. You need dumplings! These are the food equivalent of money bags; the more dumplings you eat, the more prosperous the new year. (H Mart has a wide selection of dumplings and they are easy to steam and eat.) And you need red envelopes. You give gifts of money to your loved ones in these envelopes. (I give them just to the children, in small amounts.) And there should always be tangerines or clementines (even oranges if that’s what’s available.) I would also suggest firecrackers, but we know those don’t go over well with some of our neighbors. So making some indoor noise might be the better option. Gong Hay Fat Choy! 

~ Paula W.

My kids get red envelopes with cash from their grandparents. Traditional symbolic foods (oranges for life sweetness, I think, long noodles for long life, dumplings for wealth, etc). You are supposed to clean your house (no one in my husband’s family does this, lol!) and wear new clothes. Red is the lucky color. Costco actually has a really good selection of lunar new year supplies including dumplings and pineapple cakes (I’m not really sure about the meaning behind them, but my husband came home with dozens of gift boxes of them from visiting family in Taiwan. Moon cakes are also eaten

~ Eileen K.

Non food ways: wear lots of red, learn about the zodiac animals, make paper lanterns, make tigers, make dragons (but the Chinese kind 🐉), monkey drums, finger cymbals, gongs and various other noise makers. My kids are too young to understand money but I’ll gladly accept any red envelopes on their behalf and would return in kind. Feasting: dumplings and fish for wealth (dumplings because it’s shaped like gold nuggets and labor intensive to make so you need the manpower of a family gathering to form an assembly line!). If making your own is too much, the Bibigo brand of dumplings at Costco are really good! Fish because it is homonym with “extra” so you want to “eat fish every new year” to accumulate wealth/have savings each year. Sticky rice cakes because “sticky” (nian) is homonym with “year”. “Rice” as my toddler proudly pointed out is his favorite and must have for every Chinese feast. Oranges and nuts, I roast candied pecans etc, which is pretty much as sweet as Chinese candies get.

~ Xiaowen L.

Koreans also celebrate Lunar New Year “Seollal” and some of the traditions are different from how Chinese and other Asians celebrate this holiday. The morning of Seollal begins with family members gathering in their seolbim (Hanbok) to pay respect and gratitude to one’s ancestors. Following this, the family eats tteokguk, a traditional soup made with sliced rice cakes, beef, egg, vegetables, and other ingredients (can be found at HMart). In Korea, the clear broth and white rice cakes of tteokguk are believed to symbolize starting out the year with a clean mind and body. After the meal, the younger generations of the family pay respect to their elders by taking a deep bow called sebae. Then, the elders offer their blessings and wishes for a prosperous year. Children often receive sebaetdon (New Year’s money) as a Seollal gift. The money is not in a red envelope but usually in a colorful fabric bag.

~ Sara S.


Writer for Philadelphia Family. Email tips to lani@familyfocus.org.