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How to celebrate the Lunar New Year on Long Island

Previous Lunar New Year celebrations at the Stony

Previous Lunar New Year celebrations at the Stony Brook Village Center have included dancers and drummers. Credit: Ward Melville Heritage Organization/R.Ilowite

A nine-foot lion dance will usher in the Year of the Rat at the Stony Brook Village Center, kids will paint paper lanterns at the Long Island Children’s Museum, and local libraries will offer events such as a Chinese acrobatics demonstration as Long Island marks the Lunar New Year.

“In Chinese culture, the rat actually is a symbol of fortune, good luck,” says Qun Xie, director of the Confucius Institute, which puts together an event on the Stony Brook University campus. “We’re looking forward to a year of harvest. That means you will have a prosperous year.”

Here are the details on a variety of Lunar New Year activities for kids and families:


Participants will learn Asian brush painting techniques, paint their Chinese Zodiac sign and explore creating calligraphy, fish, bamboo and panda. Materials including rice paper, ink, brush and felt are available for a fee payable to instructor at the start of class. Class is limited to 12 participants. For ages 8 to 14.

When: 1 to 3 p.m. Jan. 25

Where: Art League of Long Island, 107 E. Deer Park Road, Dix Hills

More info: Registration required; $50 per person; $10 additional material fee if needed; 631-462-5400;


Kids can learn about the customs and celebrations involved in the holiday and paint a paper lantern to take home and display. For ages 4 and older.

When: 2 p.m. Jan. 26

Where: Long Island Children’s Museum, 11 Davis Ave., Garden City

More info: $4 with museum admission of $14 per person (younger than 1 free); 516-224-5800;


A one-woman acrobatic performance sponsored by the library and the Town of Oyster Bay Library Concert Series will include hand balancing, plate spinning, ribbon dancing and foot juggling. Volunteers will be called on stage to create an impromptu ribbon dance and try plate spinning, and the audience will learn some basic Chinese phrases. Check other local libraries for Lunar New Year offerings.

When: 2:30 p.m. Feb. 1

Where: Locust Valley Library, 170 Buckram Road, Locust Valley

More info: Free and open to all but each attendee must be registered in advance; 516-671-1837;


An authentic Shaolin Kung-Fu Lion Dance, Kung Fu demonstration, taiko drumming by Manhattan Taiko and a performance by the Long Island Chinese Dance Group are all on the agenda for this celebration. A craft activity for the kids immediately follows the show.

When: 1 to 3 p.m. Feb. 2

Where: Ward Melville Heritage Organization Educational & Cultural Center, Stony Brook Village Center, Main Street on the Harbor

More info: Advance registration required; $15 per adult, $12 kids younger than 12; 631-689-5888;


The event includes demonstrations of Chinese paper cutting and calligraphy, and performances of dance, song and acrobatics.

When: 4 p.m. Feb. 8

Where: Stony Brook University’s Charles B. Wang Center, 100 Nicolls Road, Stony Brook

More info: Free but advance registration required; tickets are free on a limited first-come, first-served basis; 631-632-4400;

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