The Year of the Monkey arrives on Monday, Feb. 8, and with it many festivities and parades and shows, all to welcome Chinese New Year in the most auspicious and celebratory of ways.
The biggest party in Los Angeles, and one of the oldest to be found on the West Coast, dances down North Broadway on Saturday, Feb. 13: It's The Golden Dragon Parade, which marks its 117th anniversary in 2016.
Thousands will attend, but the happy gatherings are starting early, ahead of the new year's first hello, at various spots around town. If you'd like to greet the Year of the Monkey alongside other revelers, find your special spot around Southern California. Look to...
Chinatown: A Midnight Temple Ceremony on Sunday, Feb. 7 -- it begins at 10 p.m., and lasts through to midnight, do note -- will be full of meaning and joy and perspective. The "Chinatown community gathers to welcome good health, prosperity, and harmony for the 'Year of the Monkey,'" says the main Chinatown site. Chuan Thien Hau Temple is the place, the public is welcome, and admission is free.
Pacific Asia Museum: Make for the University of Southern California campus on Sunday, Feb. 7 for storytelling and the making of art and more. There's no admission to pay for this free happening, which will focus on "how the Lunar New Year is celebrated in China, Korea, and Cambodia." Time? It's an all-afternoon to-do, with a start time of 11 in the morning.
Norton Simon Museum: Family Day: A Monkey Celebration unfolds at the Pasadena painting-filled institution on Saturday, Feb. 6. There's no extra fee to join in, beyond paying your admission at the entrance. The making of monkey puppets out of paper bags is part of the sweet happening, which is geared for kids ages 4 to 10 and their parents.
San Pedro: If being close to the water has enchanting properties for you, as you begin this next auspicious chapter, head for the Downtown Harbor and a Saturday, Feb. 6 celebration. Lion dancers, tai chi, a Dragon Martial Arts demo, and fireworks to close out the fun fill out the big day. It is big, too, with booths and more to stroll by, so arrive early in the afternoon.
Citadel Outlets: Mid-day merrymaking at the 5-close shopping center will incorporate several elements on Saturday, Feb. 6, including the decorating of "an authentic 15-ft. Chinese pagoda." Performers will be present, engaging in traditional dragon dances and martial arts. As for lanterns? The illuminating symbol of the season will be out in festive force, in hues of red and gold.