Here’s where to celebrate Lunar New Year in Denver

There are a few big things to do, and a ton of little events that the library is throwing.

Lion dancers with Shaolin Hung Mei Kung Fu march around China Jade Restaurant during Lunar New Year festivities at Federal Boulevard's Far East Center. Feb. 5, 2022.

Lion dancers with Shaolin Hung Mei Kung Fu march around China Jade Restaurant during Lunar New Year festivities at Federal Boulevard's Far East Center. Feb. 5, 2022.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
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It’s time once again for Lunar New Year, dear Denverites, an important holiday celebrated across east and southeast Asia. It officially begins this weekend, but there’s stuff going on for the next few weeks. If you’re not sure where to go, here are a bunch of options, including a ton provided by the Denver Public Library.

But first, something you should know:

Father Joseph Dang, a chaplain and community leader within Denver’s Vietnamese community, wants everyone to know 2023’s new year is different than most celebrations. Usually, Vietnamese Lunar New Year – or Tet – raises up the same zodiac animal as their counterparts in China and Korea. This cycle, we’re entering the Chinese year of the rabbit, which is the predominant tradition you’ll see advertised around town. But Tet diverges this year; for followers of that tradition, if will be the year of the cat.

Dang, who was born in a cat year, said you should be careful not to spread blanket well-wishes like “happy year of the rabbit,” especially if you’re heading towards Federal Boulevard for a celebration or just to eat at one of the corridor’s many Vietnamese restaurants. He said there are some geopolitical reasons for this, too.

“For somebody to say, ‘happy Chinese New Year to Vietnamese or Koreans, you may have offended them,” he said.

For what it’s worth, the Far East Center, whose big arches welcome people entering from Federal, has gone with the rabbit this year.

OK, here are some places to go see lion dancers, eat food and soak up some culture:

Saturday, Jan. 21

The Denver Chinese School is throwing a party at George Washington High School from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. There’s free admission and parking from 10:30 to 1:30, which will feature food, games and cultural displays. It’s $25 to get in after 1:30, if you want to see “first-class cultural performances by world-renowned and award-winning artists.”

Father Dang said he’ll be at Pho 555 at 11 a.m. to catch a lion dance. We couldn’t find an official listing for this one, so you’ll have to drive out to Federal and see what’s what!

The Monkey Bar at Welton Room in Five Points is “offering a selection of ‘Lunar New Year’ inspired cocktails” at 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m. You can text them for reservations.

Shen Yun, the dance show billed as “China before communism,” will have a Lunar New Year’s Eve show at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House at 7:30 p.m. Tickets run from $80 to $180.

Sunday, Jan. 22

The Far East Center, at Federal and Alameda, will have lion dancers from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. It’s free!

Shen Yun, the dance show billed as “China before communism,” plays the Ellie Caulkins Opera House at 2 p.m. Tickets run from $80 to $180.

Tuesday, Jan. 24

Shen Yun, the dance show billed as “China before communism,” plays the Ellie Caulkins Opera House at 6 p.m. Tickets run from $80 to $180.

Wednesday, Jan. 25

The Montbello Branch Library will host a special story time “and then make fireworks process art,” which we assume does not mean your kid will make actual fireworks, from 10:30 to 11 a.m. It’s free!

Saturday, Jan. 28

There will be lion dancers at the Hadley Branch Library, in southwest Denver, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. It’s free! Their website says “ideal ages” for this are 5 to 99. If you’re 100, we’re sure they’ll welcome you.

 

 

The Far East Center, at Federal and Alameda, will have lion dancers, ice carving, cultural performances, food trucks and prizes from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. It’s free!

Sunday, Jan. 29

The Far East Center, at Federal and Alameda, will have lion dancers, ice carving, cultural performances, food trucks and prizes from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. It’s free!

Goldspot Brewing, near Regis University at 4970 Lowell Boulevard Denver, is throwing a four-course dinner paired with beers. Tickets are $55.

Thursday, Feb. 2

The Montbello Branch Library will have refreshments and craft time from 3 to 5 p.m. It’s free!

Friday, Feb. 3

The Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales Branch Library will have refreshments and craft time from 4 to 5 p.m. It’s free!

Saturday, Feb. 4

There will be lion dancers at the Athmar Park Branch Library from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. It’s free!

The Athmar Park Branch Library will be hosting Bau Cua, a traditonal Vietnamese gambling game, from 12 to 1 p.m. They’ll use candy as currency.

The Smiley Branch Library will have refreshments and craft time from 12 to 2 p.m. It’s free!

The Ross-Broadway Branch Library will have refreshments and craft time from 12 to 4 p.m., which includes making “colorful lanterns” and “snapping dragons” and adding “your wishes to our Lucky Tree.” It’s free!

Sunday, Feb. 5

The Central library on Broadway will have refreshments and craft time from 4 to 5 p.m. It’s free!

Tuesday, Feb. 7

The Sam Gary Branch Library in Central Park will have a crafting hour from 4 to 5 p.m. It’s free!

Wednesday, Feb. 8

The Ford-Warren Branch Library will have refreshments and craft time from 4 to 5 p.m. It’s free!

Saturday, Feb. 11

There will be lion dancers at the Ross-Barnum Branch Library from 2 to 3 p.m. It’s free!

Is there anything missing here that we should add? Email us at tips@denverite.com.

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