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Best Ways To Celebrate Lunar New Year In Los Angeles

January 20, 2014 5:00 AM

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(credit: ANTONY DICKSON/Getty Images)

(credit: ANTONY DICKSON/Getty Images)

(credit: JOE KLAMAR/AFP/Getty Images)

(credit: JOE KLAMAR/AFP/Getty Images)

Some call this the Lunar New Year, others say it is the Spring Festival. No matter what you choose to name the annual event that grandly welcomes the Chinese New Year, know that this particular heralding means it is time to celebrate in a very big way as the Year of the Horse finally begins. The following are five of the main events set to help you ring in this year’s festivities, starting at midnight on January 31, 2014 and moving forward as the massive multi-day event takes over Los Angeles’ colorful Chinatown.

(credit: David Mcnew/Getty Images)

(credit: David Mcnew/Getty Images)

Midnight Temple Ceremony In Chinatown
Chuan Thien Hau Temple
750-756 N. Yale St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 680-0243
Date: Jan. 30, 2013 at 10pm to midnight
www.chinatownla.com

Time to welcome the Year of the Horse traditions by way of prosperity, harmony and health. This is done as Taoist and Buddhist monks as well as community leaders bring on deity offerings while you light firecrackers — a keen way to make the spirits listen — and burn incense as the ritualistic invitation for unearthing good fortune. In general, this particular ceremony in the form of a midnight service sets the standard for starting the Lunar New Year off right as lion dancers entertain while traditional blessings are bestowed. Taking place on the eve of the Chinese New Year at this Temple that will be visited many times during the court of the multi-day-long event, this one officially rings in a new time for a new day during a fresh year in the city of Los Angeles and around the world.

(credit: AFP/Getty Images)

(credit: AFP/Getty Images)

115th Annual Golden Dragon Parade
715 N. Hill St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 617-0396
Date: Feb. 1, 2014
www.lagoldengragonparade.com

Some two dozen elaborate floats, a bevy of energetic marching bands and a slew of high-level dignitaries take to North Broadway in Chinatown to herald the Year of the Horse as Los Angeles’ vast Asian American community joins celebrators from every ethnic group to watch in awe as this colorful parade takes off. Held on February 1, the massive undertaking is sure to be filled with everything traditional, up to and including giant walking dragons that take a many as 10 men to command and a giant display of fireworks of phenomenal proportions, too. In addition, requisite red lanterns and other Lunar New Year accouterments that are traditional reminders of a celebration beyond compare in the City of Angels are sure to be on hand at this big event hosted by LA’s Chinese Chamber of Commerce.

(credit: David Mcnew/Getty Images)

(credit: David Mcnew/Getty Images)

Un-Discovered Chinatown Walking Tour
(213) 680-0243
Date: Feb. 1, 2014 at 10:30am to 12pm
www.chinatownla.com

What’s the best way to celebrate the Year of the Horse in Los Angeles? Go beyond the tourist stands and shops to really get to know the real Chinatown in our neck of the woods. To take advantage, opt to take this 2.5-hour walking tour that takes in everything from this district’s fine art galleries to its antique emporiums and its herbal shops located behind the colorful arch located downtown not far from Union Station. One big bonus for taking this particular tour is while shopping, your leader will teach you the most effective way to bargain. Also note that comfortable shoes are a must as you walk the streets, alleyways and ornate courtyards that make up this prominent and exotic part of The City of Angels.

Related: Best Chinese Take-Out In Los Angeles

(credit: ANTONY DICKSON/Getty Images)

(credit: ANTONY DICKSON/Getty Images)

Chinese New Year’s Day Celebration
943-951 N. Broadway St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 680-0243
Date: Jan. 31 to Feb. 1, 2014
www.chinatownla.com/calendar

To savor the flavor of the start of the Year of the Horse, set out for Central and West Plaza. When you do, expect to take part in everything from singing competitions (think karaoke on a huge scale) to traditional food samplings to an array of cultural workshops for all ages. This highlight of the Chinese New Year in Southern California happens directly on the heels of the Golden Dragon Parade, detailed above.

rsz chinatown Best Ways To Celebrate Lunar New Year In Los Angeles
33rd Annual Los Angeles Chinatown Firecracker 5/10K Run/Walk/Bike Ride
943 N. Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(323) 256-1363
Date: Feb. 22-23, 2014
www.firecracker10k.org

For the 36th year in a row, the Lunar Year is celebrated in Chinatown by way of a run/walk/bike ride in a charity event that supports physical fitness and literacy programs in elementary schools. Other citizens in the community benefit as well as serious runners, occasional walkers and avid cyclists of all ages cover various routes in order to raise money for these very important causes. Can’t decide which mode of transportation to use for this event? Don’t worry, you can mix it up with any or all of the above.

Related: Best Hong Kong Waffles In Los Angeles

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TEST Los Angeles freelance travel writer Jane Lasky, contributes to publications such as Travel + Leisure, Vogue and Esquire. Her weekly sojourning column ran in 40 newspapers for 20 years. Jane is anything but an accidental tourist. Check out her articles on Examiner.com.

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