Celebrate the Chinese New Year in Lansing

As a teenager my family moved to Penang, Malaysia, a beautiful tropical island famous for delicious street food. There were many things that made Malaysia different than our home in Michigan. One memorable change was the island-wide celebration of Chinese New Year.

Chinese New Year, which may also be called the Lunar New Year or the Spring Festival, celebrates the start of a new year on the Chinese calendar. The event lasts for more than a week and includes family gatherings, special foods, exchanging gifts, and more. I especially remember hearing fireworks outside my window all night long during the season. Interested in celebrating Chinese New Year yourself? Here’s how you can do just that, right here in Lansing!

Learn your zodiac sign

February 10, 2024 will be the start of the year of the Dragon, according to the Chinese zodiac. Depending on your birth year, you may have a Rabbit as your zodiac sign — or a Tiger, Dragon, Dog or other sign. Learn your zodiac sign and what traits that sign is connected with. 

Try something new

A large part of celebrating the Spring Festival is eating special foods, like dumplings, fish, and dessert cakes. Not only are they delicious, but the foods are symbols of wealth, longevity, and success in the new year. Check out this kid-friendly recipe for Chinese dumplings — and invite me over if you make them!

Another tradition is to exchange red envelopes, called hóngbāo, with money inside. These red envelopes are usually given from adults to children, or from bosses to employees as a new year bonus. Follow these instructions to make your own hóngbāo at home. Hand them out to friends with a few dollars, or with stickers or other special treat inside.

Chinese New Year celebration
Photo courtesy of the Greater Lansing Chinese Association Facebook page. 

Celebrate with your neighbors

We have a large Chinese population right here in the Lansing area, and a number of Spring Festival traditions you can participate in:

Looking for more family activities in Lansing? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Winter in Lansing + Beyond! 

Joy Shantz
Joy is a wife, mom, friend and neighbor who lives in the City of Lansing and loves it! She gets excited about the outdoors, cold brew coffee, international cuisine and meeting new people. You can follow her Lansing area adventures at her personal blog @hometownfound on Instagram.


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