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Chinese New Year in Chinatown LA

The Year of the Snake is a significant year in Asian tradition: the Year of the Snake marks change, filled with contemplation, preparation and much reflection. The Lunar New Year is one of the most important holidays in Asia as well as for Asian Americans living in the U.S.—especially in Los Angeles, which boasts one of the most diverse Asian populations in the nation. The oldest and one of the most recognized New Years celebrations in America is LA Chinatown’s Chinese New Year Festival, drawing more than 125,000 for the weekend-long celebration. The Chinese New Year Festival runs Feb. 16 from 12-8 p.m. and Feb. 17 from 12-5 p.m. in Chinatown’s Central Plaza.

On Saturday, Feb. 9th at 11:00 p.m. LA Chinatown kicks off the Year of the Snake celebration at Thien Hau Temple for a special midnight ceremony. Attendees, along with Buddhist and Taoist monks and families of all generations can experience traditional incense burning, make offerings to deities, watch traditional lion dancers, and witness 500,000 firecrackers in action

The 15-day long celebration continues the following weekend, Feb. 16th and 17th with the Chinese New Year Festival and the 114th Annual Golden Dragon Parade. Attendees can enjoy spectacular floats, decked-out cars, dancers and bands as they parade down the heart of Chinatown. This year's Grand Marshals includes Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck.

The Chinese New Year Festival gets underway following the parade with cultural performances, children’s activities and hands-on cultural workshops for all ages. New for 2013, LA Chinatown, with the help of festival attendees and volunteers, will attempt to break the world record for paper folding—80,000 individually folded paper pieces will be assembled to create a large paper-folded snake sculpture. This event will be held in Mandarin Plaza, 970 N. Broadway, Los Angeles over the Chinese New Year Festival weekend and the final sculpture will be submitted to the Guinness World Book of Records for consideration.

Event goers can expect to nosh on traditional Chinese cuisine at nearby Chinatown restaurants as well as innovative cuisine offered by of LA’s hottest gourmet food trucks. There will also be a craft beer garden curated by Eagle Rock Brewery featuring local breweries pouring their favorite brews.

The Chinese New Year Festival will be held at Central Plaza and West Plaza in LA Chinatown at 943-951 N. Broadway on Saturday, Feb. 16 from 12-8 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 17 from 12-5 p.m. The 114th Annual Golden Dragon Parade is on Saturday, Feb. 16 beginning at 1 p.m. For more information on the Chinese New Year Festival visit www.chinatownla.com or call 213-680-0243.

Always popular, the 2013 LA Chinatown Firecracker 5/10K run follows the Chinese New Year Festival weekend on February 23 – 24, 2013. Visit firecracker10k.org for more details.

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