Chinese New Year and Lunar New Year Celebrations in Champaign-Urbana
One of the things that is great about Champaign-Urbana is the bounty of cultures represented here! And what better way to learn about other cultures than to celebrate with them. It seems like it was just the calendar new year, and now it’s time for another fun New Year occasion — the Lunar New Year.
Of course the Chinese New Year is the most well-known, but it is also the Korean and Vietnamese New Year; many Asian cultures celebrate the holiday, which is referred to more universally as the Lunar New Year.
A few fun facts:
1. The animal for 2020 is the Rat. (2019 was the pig). “The Rat is the Chinese zodiac sign known for being inquisitive, shrewd, and resourceful. The Rat is also the first in the rotation of the 12 zodiac signs, meaning that a Rat year is a year of renewal.” – Readers Digest
2. The Chinese New Year is Saturday, Jan. 25 (it is based on a lunar calendar and changes every year), and it traditionally is celebrated for 15 days. On the 15th day there is the Lantern Festival. There are different traditions for each day of the New Year celebration.
3. Red is a popular color for Chinese New Year, as it symbolizes fortune and luck.
4. A traditional gift for children during Chinese New Year, red pockets, or 红包 (hóng bāo), are small red envelopes filled with lucky money.
5. The Korean New Year is also Saturday, Jan. 25. The Korean New Year holiday last three days.
Even if you don’t go to an official Lunar New Year or Chinese New Year celebration in town, here are some ways to honor and celebrate the holiday with family and friends:
- Taste the cuisine of China, Korea or Vietnam. Champaign-Urbana has an incredible number of Asian restaurants. Our readers have offered up their favorite places to get Chinese food as well as their favorite restaurants for Korean food.
- Make a craft. One popular item to decorate for Chinese New Year is a Good Luck character banner. Make one with these directions.
- Check out some books about Lunar New Year at your local library (Champaign Public Library and Urbana Free Library have plenty). Or, here are a few options to buy for your home collections:
A New Year Reunion
The Nian Monster
Golden Blooms: Celebrating Tet-Vietnamese Lunar New Year
- Have a party. We found Chinese New Year party supplies and decorations at the Savoy Wal-Mart this year (see above), which tells us that the holiday is more well-known than ever.
There are often Lunar New Year and Chinese New Year celebrations in Urbana, Champaign, Mahomet and Monticello. We will keep adding to these, so check back:
Saturday, January 25, 2020
Barnes and Noble – 65 East Market View Dr. Champaign Time: 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Celebrate Lunar New Year with this fun Storytime! The wily dragon will have to avoid trap after trap as the kids run through paper lanterns, red envelopes, fireworks, and more! Come out and color your own paper lantern to take home.
Tuesday, January 28, 2020
SDRP – Student Dining and Residential Programs Building, Ikenberry Commons – 301 East Gregory Drive Champaign Time: 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Please join the Asian American Cultural Center and University Housing to celebrate Lunar New Year! Free performances and crafts activity tables for ages 5+ will be available at SDRP first floor lobby (Ikenberry Dining) from 5:30pm-8pm. A themed dinner menu will be served at the Ikenberry Dining Hall, Pennsylvania Avenue Dining Hall, and Lincoln Avenue Dining Hall. Meal tickets can be purchased at each dining hall with a credit card. Ticket prices set by University Housing are available here: https://housing.illinois.edu/Resources/Rates/2019-2020/individual-meal For more information or any questions about this event, please email AACC@Illinois.edu or call 217-333-9300. https://oiir.illinois.edu/aacc/aacc-events/lunar-new-year-celebration
Friday, January 31, 2020
The Vineyard Church – 1500 N Lincoln Ave Urbana Time: 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
All are invited to celebrate this festive occasion with the Urbana-Champaign Chinese community! Dinner will be potluck style, so bring your favorite dish to share. There will be many fun activities and games to be enjoyed by all, so spread the word! Meet in the Kingdom Kids Chapel.
Do you know of a Lunar New Year celebration we should add to this list? If you have one to add to our calendar, submit it here.