Chinese New Year: Welcome the Year of the Horse

Firecrackers and ceremonies are set for several SoCal spots.

Greeting the lunar new year is a joyful and peaceful act that can take many forms. There are lion dances to admire and parades to cheer and firecrackers to pop, yes, and there are temple ceremonies and meaningful meals and art shows and papercutting and numerous other small to large solemn gatherings to join.

Southern California will welcome the Year of the Horse, which arrives on Friday, Jan. 31, in all of those ways, and more. Chinatown's Golden Dragon Parade marks its 115th year in 2014, making it one of the oldest new year processions in the United States. Broadway and Hill are the main thoroughfares for the Saturday, Feb. 1 celebration, but taking Metro is recommended, given that over a hundred and fifty thousand revelers typically visit Chinatown over the course of the weekend to join in the fun.

Oh, so yes indeed: Sunday, Feb. 2 is on the calendar, too, for festival enjoyment, though the Golden Dragon walks on Feb. 1.

A midnight temple ceremony at the Chuan Thien Hau Temple on Thursday, Jan. 30 will "welcome good health, prosperity, and harmony for the Year of the Horse." Firecrackers will be lit "to awaken the spirits," while lion dancers make a pre-parade cameo. It is celebratory, like the weekend festival, but with a beautifully esoteric and meaningful mien, something enhanced by the late hour.

But spots around the city, and all of Southern California, will welcome health and luck and all good things in a joyful way. Obscura Society LA will be calling upon Whittier and Hacienda Heights to say hello to the Horse, Santa Monica Place will have festive doings for six (nonconsecutive) days starting on Jan. 31, and La Quinta Resort & Club is throwing its own party, complete with fireworks.

It's the Year of the Green Wood Horse, and the words "stable" and "strong" are in the air. If you need to welcome these tenets, along with thousands of others, find your spot to bid hello to a good new year.

Copyright FREEL - NBC Local Media
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