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Where to celebrate Lunar New Year in San Diego

Members of the Hoa Nghiem Lion Dance troupe performing at the San Diego Tet Festival in Mira Mesa Community Park, Feb. 5, 2022.
Sydney Tran Photography
/
Vietnamese-American Youth Alliance and Vietnamese Federation of San Diego
Members of the Hoa Nghiem Lion Dance troupe performing at the San Diego Tet Festival in Mira Mesa Community Park, Feb. 5, 2022.

Lunar New year is a time for friends and family to come together and celebrate a fresh start and new opportunities. Traditionally commemorated by the Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean and other Asian communities, Lunar New Year is tied to the lunar calendar. For those following the Chinese zodiac, we’re entering the Year of the Rabbit. For the Vietnamese zodiac, it’s going to be the Year of the Cat.

During the pandemic, Lunar New Year celebrations in San Diego were pared back or canceled. But now two years after pandemic restrictions have eased, San Diego is gearing up to ring in the Year of the Rabbit and Cat.

Across the world more than a billion people will celebrate Lunar New Year beginning on Jan. 22 with fireworks, lion dances and Lucky Red Envelopes filled with money (known as "hóngbāo" in Chinese and "bao lì xì" in Vietnamese). The length of celebrations varies, but typically they last about 15 days.

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Here’s a list of some of KPBS’ picks to ring in the Year of the Rabbit and Cat in San Diego County over the next three weekends.

Jan. 20-22

Lunar New Year Festival - City Heights

The Little Saigon Foundation's Lunar New Year Festival is back for a second year in person. The three-day festival features lion dances, traditional Vietnamese performances, food vendors and firecracker displays. All proceeds from this year's festival will go fund the Boat People Garden, a community park in the Little Saigon neighborhood of City Heights.

San Diego Lunar New Year Festival runs 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday in the Little Saigon district. Schedule here. Jeremy Henwood Park, 4455 Wightman St., City Heights. Free.

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Chinese New Year Festival - International Cottages at Balboa Park

The House of China at Balboa Park's International Cottages is celebrating the Year of the Rabbit with traditional performances, Chinese food vendors, calligraphy and crafts. The House of China expects about 5,000 people to attend.

Chinese New Year Fair at the International Cottages runs 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 21-22. 2191 Pan American Rd., Balboa Park. Free.

San Diego Public Library

The San Diego Public Library is hosting a several traditional lion dance performances at multiple locations starting Jan. 20 and ending Jan. 21.

  • College-Rolando Library: Friday, Jan. 20, 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
    • College-Rolando Library, 6600 Montezuma Road San Diego, CA 92115
  • Mira Mesa Library: Friday, Jan. 20, 3 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. 
    • Community Room at Mira Mesa Library, 8405 New Salem St. San Diego, CA 92126
  • Linda Vista Library: Friday Jan. 20, 4 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
    • Children’s Area at Linda Vista Library, 2160 Ulric St. San Diego, CA 92111
  • Balboa Library: Saturday, Jan. 21, 11 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. 
    • Olive Grove Park, 6075 Printwood Way, San Diego, CA 92117
  • Serra Mesa-Kearny Mesa Library: Saturday, Jan. 21, 12 p.m. to 12:30 p.m.
    • Community Room at Serra Mesa-Kearny Mesa Library, 9005 Aero Drive San Diego, CA 92123
  • North Park Library: Saturday, Jan. 21, 4 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
    • Children's Area - North Park Library, 3795 31st St. San Diego, CA 92104

Lunar New Year’s Eve: An Evening of Mindfulness - Deer Park Monastery, Escondido

Join the monks at the Buddhist Deer Park Monastery in Escondido for an evening of mindfulness, including a lecture, Lunar New Year's ceremony and performance.

Lunar New Year’s Eve: An Evening of Mindfulness is Jan. 21 from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Deer Park Monastery, 2499 Melru Lane, Escondido. Free (donation encouraged). RSVP required.

SDTET 2022 - Tiny Lion.jpg
Sydney Tran Photography
/
Vietnamese-American Youth Alliance and Vietnamese Federation of San Diego
Tiny lion dancers from the Hoa Nghien Lion Dance troupe getting ready to perform on stage at the San Diego Tet Festival in Mira Mesa Community Park, Feb. 5, 2022.

Jan. 27-29

San Diego Tet Festival - Mira Mesa

The Vietnamese-American Youth Alliance and Vietnamese Federation of San Diego will be hosting a Year of the Cat celebration Jan. 27-29 at the Mira Mesa Community park. The festival will feature traditional lion dance performances, food vendors, the Miss Vietnam San Diego pageant, a Vietnamese Cultural Village and carnival rides.

San Diego Tết Festival runs from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28 and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m Sunday, Jan. 29. Mira Mesa Community Park, 8575 New Salem Street, Mira Mesa. Free.

Lunar New Year - Poway Community Library

The library is hosting a celebration with crafts, balloon animals and a lion dance performance at 3 p.m.

Lunar New Year at Poway Community Library runs from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 28. Poway Community Library 13137 Poway Road, Poway. Free.

SDTET 2022 - Gloria, Cate Wilpert 2.jpg
Sydney Tran Photography
/
Vietnamese-American Youth Alliance and Vietnamese Federation of San Diego
San Diego Mayor and Councilmembers Chris Cate and Marni von Wilpert dodging firecrackers lighting up at the San Diego Tet Festival in Mira Mesa Community Park, Feb. 5, 2022.

Feb. 3-5

Chinese New Year Fair - Gaslamp Quarter

The Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association of San Diego is ringing in the Year of the Rabbit with a fair Downtown featuring traditional cultural performances, a lantern parade, children's crafts and Chinese food vendors.

San Diego Chinese New Year Fair runs 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 4 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 5 in Downtown at the Corner of Third Ave. and J Street, San Diego. Free.

Lantern Parade for Inclusion - Harbor Drive

The Organization of Chinese Americans along with several organizations are hosting a lantern parade and rally against hate along Harbor Drive. The rally will feature speakers and will be lead by Tom Hom, the first person of color elected to the San Diego City Council in the 1960s.

Organization of Chinese Americans Lantern Parade/Rally Against Hate is at 10 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 4. The starting point is Waterfront Park, 1600 Pacific Hwy, San Diego. Free.