Chinese New Year celebrations, Los Angeles.creativecommons.org/Clinton Steeds

A Chinese cultural thread has long run through California, dating back to the Gold Rush period. With strong Chinese and Asian-American communities in all regions across the state, the Lunar New Year tradition is a popular annual celebration in California. Here’s a round-up ways to welcome the Year of the Horse in the Golden State this year...

115th Annual Golden Dragon Parade and Chinese New Year Festival, LA:
At the 115th Annual Golden Dragon Parade on Saturday, February 1, you can see hundreds of spectacular floats, decked out cars, dancers and bands as they parade through the heart of LA’s Chinatown. The Chinese New Year Festival commences after the parade with cultural performances by some of the nation's best Chinese acts. Enjoy cultural workshops and eat your heart out with cooking demonstrations by Chinatown's favourite chefs, or sample the many gourmet food trucks at the event.

Los Angelescreativecommons.org/Julia

Southwest Airlines Chinese New Year Festival and Parade, San Francisco: A San Francisco tradition since the Gold Rush, this Parade and Festival has grown into the largest celebration of Asian culture outside of Asia. Kicking off on January 25, the Festival will feature an array of events, from a flower market fair, Miss Chinatown Pageant and ball, to a Chinese Chamber of Commerce Basketball Jamboree, a YMCA 10K/5K Walk and a Chinatown Community Street Fair. The events culminate with the Chinese New Year Parade on February 15, where gorgeous floats, elaborate costumes, ferocious lions, exploding firecrackers and the newly-crowned Miss Chinatown USA create a one-of-a-kind lunar New Year celebration.

San Franciscocreativecommons.org/Robert Raines

Lunar New Year at Universal Studios, Hollywood: Universal Plaza, at the heart of Universal Studios Hollywood, will be the hub of elaborate red ornamentation and a grand celebration honoring the Year of the Horse from January 30 to February 9. In addition to performances and awe-inspiring displays of Chinese heritage, there will be interactive opportunities to take part in centuries-old traditions.

Beverly Hills Celebrates Chinese New Year: February 8 will usher in a Chinese New Year celebration on world-famous Rodeo Drive between Wilshire Boulevard and Dayton Way. Performances will include a ceremonial lion dance, a fashion show and martial art, folk dancing and acrobat demonstrations. ‘Storm Castle’, a striking horse sculpture by famed sculptor Deborah Butterfield will be on display at Two Rodeo throughout the month. Weighing over one thousand kilograms, this unique sculpture was created by wood that was cast in bronze.

Storm Castle by Deborah Butterflield.Visit California

Disneyland Resorts’ Lunar New Year Celebrations, Anaheim: Disneyland Resorts offers a Lunar New Year Celebration for park guests that pays tribute to the Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese cultural traditions. The celebration includes musicians, dancers and appearances by Mulan and Mushu.

San Diego’s 32nd Annual Chinese New Year and Cultural Fair: Celebrate the auspicious year ahead at the Chinese New Year Food and Cultural Fair on February 8 and 9 at Third and J Street in downtown San Diego. This free, fun-packed event features cultural performances, children's crafts, a lantern parade and a wide variety of Chinese and Asian food booths.

Nevada City Chinese Lunar New Year Festival: On Sunday, February 9, the Sierra Foothills welcomes the Year of the Horse with the Nevada City Chinese Lunar New Year Festival. Sponsored by the Community Asian Theatre of the Sierra, the festival starts off with a parade at noon at the Chinese Monument on Commercial Street and heads to the Robinson Plaza for entertainment and festivities. To ward off evil spirits and bring blessings and prosperity to all, the event will feature fierce and fiery lion dancers from Eastern Ways Martial Arts of Sacramento.

Annual Chinese New Year Festival At The Bay Area Discovery Museum: Families are invited to welcome the Year of the Horse at Bay Area Discovery Museum on February 17. Purchase a theatre ticket to see a vibrant performance by the Chinese Performing Arts of America Youth Group; try your hand at calligraphy or make a kite in the Art Studio. Don't miss the free outdoor demonstrations by the spectacular lion dancers of the Dragon Horse Lion Dance Team and the Marin Chinese Cultural Association.

La Quinta Resort And Club Celebration: La Quinta Resort and Club will host its Year of the Horse Celebration on Saturday, February 1. The event kicks off with a variety of family games and activities, authentic Chinese-influenced food and beverage specials and an ongoing video presentation. At 7p.m., the festivities will heat up with a colourful dragon parade and acrobatic performance and culminate with an elaborate fireworks display over the resort.

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