Lunar New Year is celebrated over 15 days, with dates based on the lunisolar calendar. This year, it’s from Sunday, Jan. 22, through Feb. 5.
Every new year is paired with one of the 12 Chinese zodiac animals: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. This year is the rabbit’s turn. Rabbit years are associated with luck, longevity, peace and prosperity, and those born in a year of the rabbit are thought to be vigilant, witty and ingenious.
Famous people born in the Year of the Rabbit include Michelle Obama, Colin Kaepernick, Mark Hamill, George Balanchine, Sting, Albert Einstein, Angelina Jolie, John Cleese, Cesar Chavez and Francis Ford Coppola.
Check out The Chronicle’s guide to the best Lunar New Year events taking around the San Francisco Bay Area:
Year of the Rabbit on Parade
Five large rabbit statues, designed and painted by local artists, will be on display throughout the city. Each design was inspired by cultural themes that share the traditions and celebratory messages of the Lunar New Year.
“Bravery Rabbit,” by Yiyang (Vito) Deng: Thrive Plaza at Chase Center, 1725 Third St., S.F.
“Maanmaansik Rabbit,” by Alli Lowe: Lakeshore Plaza, 1515 Sloat Blvd., S.F.
“Prosperity Rabbit,” by Stephanie Tsao: Asian Art Museum, 200 Larkin St., S.F.
“Lucky Water Rabbit,” by Stephanie Mufson: Chinatown-Rose Pak Station, 943 Stockton St., S.F.
“Peace to Home Rabbit,” by Deyi (Robin) Zhao: Union Square, 333 Post St., S.F.
On view through Feb. 5. Public art installation. Various locations around San Francisco. 415-982-3000. chineseparade.com/rabbit-on-parade
U.S. Postal Service Year of the Rabbit Forever stamp unveiling
Join San Francisco Mayor London N. Breed, State Treasurer Fiona Ma and Asian Art Museum Director Dr. Jay Xu for a special dedication ceremony as the U.S. Postal Service commemorates the Lunar New Year with a Forever stamp for the Year of the Rabbit. Enjoy the Asian Art Museum’s first-floor galleries for free from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Mini-Procession and Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony
Kick off the new year with a procession that gives a glimpse of what San Francisco’s larger Lunar New Year parade will offer. Beginning at St. Mary’s Square, it proceeds to the Flower Fair’s main stage. It will include lion dancers, stilt walkers, drummers and dancers. Afterward, city dignitaries will join guests in officially opening the festival with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
10:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 14. Free. St. Mary’s Square, Pine St. and Grant Ave., S.F. 415-982-3000. chineseparade.com
Flower Market Fair
Hosted on the weekend before Chinese New Year, the flower fair offers fresh flowers, fruits, candies and supplies to kick off the lunar year. Traditional live Chinese entertainment, including magicians, acrobats, lion dance and opera, and more than 120 vendor booths and concessions, will be featured.
10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 14, on Grant Ave. from Sacramento to Broadway streets; 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 15, on Washington and Jackson streets and Pacific Ave. between Stockton and Kearny streets, S.F. chineseparade.com/flower-market-fair
Chinese Lunar New Year 4721: Choy Sun Doe Celebration
San Francisco Chinese Chamber of Commerce-sponsored “Choy Suns” (prosperity deity) will pass out red envelopes with chocolate coins and gifts to children.
11 a.m.-2 p.m. Jan. 22. Free. Portsmouth Square, 50 Walter U Lum Place, S.F. chineseparade.com/choy-sun-doe
Cal Performances presents: Joyce Yang
The Grammy-nominated pianist returns to Berkeley with a program of works by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky and Messiaen.
3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 22. $25-$68, reservations required. Hertz Hall, UC Berkeley. 510-642-9988. calperformances.org
Takeout Tuesdays: Lunchtime Conversations About Art
Join museum docent Peggy Mathers for a “Chinese New Year of the Rabbit”-themed interactive online lunchtime encounter, featuring selected museum artworks.
NightLife: Lunar Underground
Celebrate Lunar New Year at a party where you can play mahjong and wander through a bustling night market. Hosted by Baba’s House, grab a drink and pick your lucky tiles for free play and mahjong tutorials all night long. Celebrate with a lasting memento: real tattoos. While spots to get inked are limited, partygoers can look on as a lucky few memorialize the year with a Lunar New Year-inspired tattoo. LionDanceME will present an LED lion dance performance.
Chinese New Year Craft: Origami Rabbit
Learn how to fold an origami rabbit in honor of the Year of Rabbit. For ages 10-18.
3 p.m. Jan. 27. Free. S.F. Public Library, Chinatown branch, 1135 Powell St., S.F. 415-355-2888. sfpl.org
Annual Lunar New Year Celebration at OMCA
Festival access and food market opens at 11am; performances including lion dancers, drumming, live multicultural performances, craft activities, story time and more start at noon.
The Flying Angels Chinese Dance Company
Usher in a new year with a colorful, energetic dance performance that aims to bring good luck and fortune to all.
3 p.m. Jan. 29. Free. S.F. Public Library, Visitacion Valley branch, 201 Leland Ave., S.F. 415-355-2848. sfpl.org
Red Envelope Lantern Craft
Learn how to use red envelopes to make Chinese lanterns in celebration of the Lantern Festival.
4 p.m. Feb. 1 at S.F. Public Library, Excelsior branch, 4400 Mission St., S.F.; 2 p.m. Feb. 2 at S.F. Public Library, Richmond branch, 351 Ninth Ave., S.F. sfpl.org
S.F. Performances Presents: Midori
Celebrate the 40th anniversary of the violinist’s New York Philharmonic debut with two programs featuring works by Bach, Thierry Esciach, Annie Gosfield, Jessie Montgomery and John Zorn.
7:30 p.m. Feb. 2; 2 p.m. Feb. 5. $50-$70, masks required; reservations recommended. Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness Ave., S.F. 415-392-2545. sfperformances.org
Miss Chinatown Pageant and Coronation Ball
Women from across the U.S. head to San Francisco during Chinese New Year to compete for scholarships and prizes in the annual Miss Chinatown USA Pageant. Winners become goodwill ambassadors for the Chinese community for the Year of the Rabbit.
5-9 p.m. Feb. 3. Hilton San Francisco, Union Square, 333 O’Farrell St., S.F. 415-892-3000. chineseparade.com/miss-chinatown-pageant
Lunar New Year and Black History Month Celebration
OACC and the Malonga Arts Residence Association host an event celebrating Black and AAPI arts and culture in Oakland. Scheduled performers include composer Destiny Muhammad, African and Taiko drumming, capoeira, tae kwon do, Chinese folk dance, poetic storytelling and more. There will also be vendors, a literature fair, art exhibition and cultural activities.
11 a.m.-4 p.m. Feb. 4. Free. Oakland Asian Cultural Center, 388 Ninth St., Oakland. 510-637-0455. oacc.cc
Tea Ceremony with Dasen American Academy
Experience a Chinese tea ceremony, traditional dances and traditional Chinese costumes in celebration of Lunar New Year.
3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4. Free. S.F. Public Library, Ortega branch, 3223 Ortega St., S.F. 415-355-5700. sfpl.org
Lunar New Year Community Street Fair
Enjoy the sights and sounds of San Francisco’s Chinatown during one of the community’s most exciting events. There will be more than 100 vendor booths and concessions, cultural activities and live entertainment for all ages, including Chinese folk dance and opera, Taiko drumming, giant puppets and more.
10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Feb. 4. Grant Ave. from California to Broadway; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Feb. 5. Free. Washington and Jackson Streets and Pacific Ave., between Stockton and Kearny Streets, S.F. chineseparade.com/community-fair
Alaska Airlines S.F. Chinese New Year Parade
Witness the grand nighttime illuminated parade. Started in the 1860s by the Chinese community in San Francisco as a means to educate the city about its culture, the parade and festival have grown to be the largest celebration of Asian culture outside of Asia.
The parade will be broadcast live on KTVU Fox 2 from 6 to 8 p.m.
Cal Performances Presents: Kodo
In the new production “Tsuzumi,” the Taiko drum ensemble looks back at its 40-year history and forward to its next chapter. The program will feature signature pieces and new compositions.
S.F. Symphony: Lunar New Year
Welcome the Year of the Rabbit with friends old and new for the symphony’s annual celebration of music and community. The evening begins with pre-concert lobby festivities and entertainment. The concert, conducted by Earl Lee, draws upon a wide range of Asian traditions, spotlighting artists and repertoire to commemorate the holiday. VIP packages/banquet tickets available.
Lunar New Year and Chinese Lantern Festival
Hosted by AAPI Healers for Liberation, Cut Fruit Collective, Oakland Bloom and Civic Design Studio, this event is designed to celebrate the diversity of the Asian diaspora and promote joy and healing in community. It is set to include family-friendly activities, light installations, a night market with traditional foods, live dance with Megan Lowe, drag performance from King Lotus Boy, Taiko drumming, poetry reading with Giovanna Lomato and a maker marketplace.
4-8 p.m. Feb. 5. Pacific Renaissance Plaza, 388 Ninth St., Chinatown, Oakland. lunarnewyear2023.com
Lion Dancing with Jing Mo Athletic Association
Welcome the Lunar New Year with a traditional Lion Dance program for children and their families.
Saturday, Feb. 11. Free. 11 a.m. at the S.F. Public Library, Main branch, 100 Larkin St., S.F; 12:15 p.m. at the Bernal Heights branch, 500 Cortland Ave., S.F.; 1:15 p.m. at Little Footprints Preschool, 308 Randolph St., S.F.; 2:15 p.m. at the Noe Valley branch, 451 Jersey St., S.F.; 3:15 p.m. at the Eureka Valley/Harvey Milk Memorial branch, 1 Jose Sarria Court, S.F.; 4:15 p.m. at the Park branch, 1833 Page St., S.F. 415-557-4400. sfpl.org
When Poems Rhyme with Music — Chinese New Year Concert 2023
Celebrate the start of the Year of the Rabbit with live music. Both traditional Chinese New Year songs and popular Western music will be featured, showcasing a culturally mixed concert to welcome 2023.
1-5 p.m. Feb. 12. Free. S.F. Public Library, Main branch, 100 Larkin St., S.F. 415-557-4400. sfpl.org