Year of the snake: Here's where to celebrate Chinese New Year

A traditional dance troupe moves through Chinatown celebrating

A traditional dance troupe moves through Chinatown celebrating Chinese New Year, 2012. (Getty) (Credit: A traditional dance troupe moves through Chinatown celebrating Chinese New Year, 2012. (Getty))

Lions and dragons and snakes, oh my! Chinese New Year is upon us.

This year marks the year of the snake, which is characterized as intuitive, introspective, refined and collected.

The city will be abuzz with parades, festivals and special events to celebrate the Lunar New Year for the next two weeks.

Here's everything you need to know to join in on the festivities, which begin Sunday.

Special Events:

14th New Year Firecracker Ceremony & Cultural Festival
Kick off the festivities and purge evil spirits from your life by heading down to Chinatown for this festival, presented by the Better Chinatown Society. After the firecrackers scare away the evil spirits, peruse the festival and stop by booths of different community organizations to buy traditional Chinese New Year items or score some free swag. The ceremonies kick off at 11 a.m. in Sara Roosevelt Park at Grand and Forsyth streets on Sunday, Feb. 10.

14th Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade & Festival
Don a colorful outfit and keep the party going into next week by heading back to Sara Roosevelt Park on Sunday, Feb. 17 for this always fun parade and festival. Hundreds of performers, floats, marching bands and dragon and lion puppets will parade through the streets of Chinatown and Little Italy to celebrate the year of the snake. And this is your chance to visit any booths you may have missed the prior week - the cultural festival continues with performances and booths set up in the park at Canal and Forsyth streets. The parade starts at 1 p.m. on at the corner of Hester and Mott streets.

Flushing's 17th annual Lunar New Year Parade
This Queens neighborhood boasts one of the largest Chinese and East Asian populations in the city and will celebrate the Lunar New Year on Saturday, Feb. 16 with its 17th annual parade. The parade begins at 11 a.m. at the Queens Library, 41-17 Main St., and makes its way to the Queens Crossing Mall, where there will be performances and festival booths. The week before the parade, stop by Flushing Town Hall for a dancing event based on Asian traditions and featuring performers from China, Korea, India and Taiwan, among others.

Annisa restaurant's six-course Chinese New Year tasting menu
Chef and owner of Annisa restaurant, Anita Lo, is offering patrons a lucky six-course tasting menu to celebrate the year of the snake on Sunday, Feb. 10, and Monday, Feb. 11. The menu features water snake-inspired dishes, including tea-smoked eel, seared foie gras, crispy whole shrimp and crab and pork e-fu noodles, as well as duck and churros with sweet black sesame dipping sauce. The tasting menu, which will be served alongside the restaurant's regular menu, will be available for $105. Annisa Restaurant, 13 Barrow St., 212-741-6699, annisarestaurant.com. Reservations: 212-741-6699.

Buddakan's Chinese New Year events
Celebrate the Lunar New Year with Buddakan's tasty events. The celebration begins with the Kick-Off Dim Sum Brunch on Sunday, Feb. 10, from 1-3 p.m., featuring a three-course $55 prix fixe menu. Snag a traditional red envelope, a select number of which will have a ticket for an insider tour of Chinatown with Buddakan's executive chef Yang Huang. Come back throughout the two weeks for a la carte menu specials celebrating each of the holiday's positive virtues: wealth, happiness, longevity, prosperity and abundance. And make sure you sign up for the Behind-the-Scenes Dumpling Class and Brunch on Saturday, Feb. 16, at 1 p.m. Tickets for the class and brunch are $85 per person. Buddakan Restaurant, 75 Ninth Ave., 212-989-6699, buddakannyc.com.

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Chinese New Year at a glance

-- Chinese New Year is a celebration of spring and is a way to part with the old and celebrate the onset of health, good fortune, prosperity and happiness in the new year.
-- It is tradition for families to be together for dinner on the last day of the old year.
-- Celebrants wear colorful new clothes.
-- Family members distribute Hong Bao, a red envelope filled with money, to kids.
-- The New Year falls on different dates because it is based on the solar and lunar calendars rather than the Western Gregorian calendar.
-- The New Year usually features dumplings and 10 dishes, including fish or meat.
-- The celebrations close with a Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the New Year, or the first full moon. This day is also referred to as Chinese Valentine's Day.

Tags: ENTERTAINMENT

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