San Diego is home to several significant Lunar New Year events worth attending for those who would like to celebrate the Year of the Ox.
Lunar New Year (or Chinese New Year if you are of Chinese heritage) is celebrated in China, Vietnam, Korea, Mongolia, Singapore, Tibet, and by the many emigrants all over the world from these countries.
The date is based on the lunisolar calendar, which this year is February 12, 2021.
The holiday is incredibly important in our home as my daughter is proud to have been born in Hong Kong during the Year of the Golden Pig. It is by far the most important celebration there, lasting 15 days, though typically only three of those days are public holidays.
Without further ado, here is a list of Lunar New Year events in San Diego.
Jasmine Seafood’s Lunar New Year Take-Out for Two
Jasmine Seafood’s Lunar New Year Charity Gala is an annual event that many in San Diego look forward to. Proceeds support the San Diego United Lions Club charitable projects worldwide.
This year, you can still participate by ordering a take-out dinner for two on February 16, 2021. Details are still forthcoming.
The popular dim sum restaurant also usually hosts lion dances throughout the month, which are fun for families. We bring lai see (traditional red envelopes with dollar bills inside) for good luck and to support the student lion troupe and their organization.
Annual San Diego Chinese New Year Food and Cultural Fair
The annual San Diego Chinese New Year Fair hosted by the San Diego Chinese Center spans two days. It’s held on Third Avenue and J Street in downtown San Diego’s old Chinatown.
Attendees shop handicrafts, eat tons of traditional food and enjoy live entertainment ranging from acrobats to traditional Chinese music performances.
This year, it’s being held as a Facebook live event.
- Saturday, February 20 and Sunday, February 21
- 12 p.m.
- Free to watch
Japanese Friendship Garden Collaboration
Join a collaborative Lunar New Year celebration hosted by the Japanese Friendship Garden, Pacific Arts Movement, the House of Korea in Balboa Park, the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA), and the Vietnamese American Youth Alliance (VAYA), and Asameshikai.
You’ll learn how different countries celebrate this significant holiday through suggested films, sharable content, and more on this landing page, which is available now.
Annual San Diego Tet Festival
This annual Tet festival hosts several competitions, including a Miss Vietnam of San Diego pageant, a pho eating contest, a Golden Voice competition, and kids’ opportunity to share their knowledge about Vietnamese culture.
Guests can also normally look forward to Vietnamese food, carnival rides and games, firecrackers, and lion dances.
The good news is that this celebration will still happen albeit online in the form of a livestream.
House of China Virtual Celebration
Join the House of China, part of the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages in Balboa park, for a Chinese New Year celebration on YouTube complete with lion dances, dragon dances, Chinese performances, and an online auction.
- Friday, February 12, 2021
- Details are TBD
How do you celebrate Lunar New Year in San Diego? If there are activities that I’ve missed, please leave them in the comments.
Hot Pot to Go
Beginning February 11 through February 17, Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot on Clairemont Mesa welcomes Year of the Ox with a Lunar New Year special featuring complimentary yam mochi and ice cream with the purchase of any hot pot.
This fun restaurant (we love it) is open for outdoor dining. Check out my guide to hot pot if you’re unfamiliar with this fantastic dish. You can also order a Hot Pot Home Kit, for pick-up and delivery! The signature kits serve two, four, or six individuals and include all of the traditional ingredients with the option to purchase your own personal stove and pot set.
Celebrate Chinese New Year on Your Own at Home
Chinese New Year is an important holiday in our house. In fact, I’m headed to 99 Ranch for our usual stash of candy and dried fruit, part of a traditional eight-part Tray of Togetherness to snack from throughout the season (I’ll share details for what to include shortly).
You can also celebrate at home with crafts. In addition to resources provided in the link to the Japanese Friendship Garden above, I have easy instructions for how to make a paper lantern and a list of free Chinese New Year printables.
You can also use the opportunity to leave bowls of citrus on the table for the family to eat or even put Chinese New Year citrus trees on each side of your doorstep.
It’s also fun to put together Chinese New Year red envelopes for the kids in your life. You can order red envelopes on Amazon or find them at markets like 99 Ranch.
Kung Hei Fat Choy!