Image courtesy of MIT Office of Multicultural Programs

The Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism (MOTT) has compiled a selection of Lunar New Year activities in February 2021 to highlight the cultural traditions of Asian-American ethnic communities in the Bay State.  Events range from children’s activities and art exhibits to culinary displays and online gatherings. Celebrations runs from February 12 through the end of the month.

“Massachusetts’ vibrant Asian-American community is delighted to share its cultural traditions with all residents of the Commonwealth during Lunar New Year,” said Mass Office of Travel & Tourism Executive Director Keiko Matsudo Orrall.  “This year’s celebration is largely virtual because of the pandemic, but the spirit of community pride remains.”

Sampan, New England’s bilingual Chinese-English Newspaper, notes that Massachusetts held its first Chinese New Year celebration 150 years ago in North Adams in western Massachusetts.

Lunar New Year marks the transition from one zodiac sign to the next. In Asian culture, the ox is a valued animal because of its role in agriculture.  This year the U.S. Postal Service  is celebrating Lunar New Year with the release of the Year of the Ox Forever stamp.

Lunar New Year is known by many names: the Vietnamese call their celebration Tết, while South Koreans call theirs Wondan and in China it is simply called Chinese New Year.



February 12-14, 20-22
Fo Guang Buddhist Temple Celebrates Chinese New Year
9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
These weekend virtual celebrations feature an incense offering, lantern lightings, a gong bell and blessing words to honor the Year of the Ox. The temple is closed due to COVID; however, a small Guan Yin Blessing table is set up near the back of the temple at 711 Concord Avenue, for visitors to pay respect to Bodhisattva.

February 12
PEM’s Lunar New Year Celebration
Peabody Essex Museum, Salem
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
PEM celebrates the Year of the Ox with a variety of virtual Lunar New Year programs: A Virtual Visit to Yin Yu Tang: A Chinese House; Community Lantern Project; Y8n Yu Tang Interpretive Theater; Guo Nia, Passage into a New Year; and Guoman, A Village Wedding.

February 12
MFA’s Lunar New Year Celebration
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
7-8 p.m.
This year’s MFA Boston online celebration includes: A Chinese lion dance & demonstration by Gund Kwok Asian Women’s Lion and Dragon Dance Troupe; Highlights from MFA’s 2020 celebration; A Spotlight Talk in Mandarin from Feier Ying, on Hua Yan’s New Year Decorations (1744); and a tour of “Weng Family Collection of Chinese Painting: Family and Friends” from Nancy Berliner, Wu Tung Senior Curator of Chinese Art.

February 12-15
Lunar New Year Virtual 5k/1 Mile
Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center
‘We Love Boston Chinatown’ has organized this virtual race, presented by Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center.  Complete your walk anytime between February 12-15. Post to social media using #WeLoveBostonChinatown.  Help BCNC meet its $5,000 fundraising goal.

February 13
Virtual New Year Celebration
Chinese Association of Western Massachusetts
7 p.m.
Enjoy a night of modern and traditional Chinese performances by talented individuals in the western Mass Chinese American community.  CAWM promotes the appreciation of Chinese culture, heritages and by enhancing cross-cultural understanding through educational programs in western Massachusetts.

February 13
Virtual Lunar New Year Celebration
Pao Arts Center, Boston
2-5 p.m.
Have a creative and safe Lunar New Year with family-friendly virtual activities: learn basic lion dance, taught by the Nuwa Athletic Club; share your hopes and dreams on the wish tree; and learn to make traditional dumplings with Valerie Li.

February 14
Quincy Lunar New Year Festival
11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Quincy Asian Resources presents its 33rd Annual Lunar New Year Celebration, featuring cultural performances; Asian food demonstrations; community stories and storytelling, Chinese Zodiac and more.  The event airs live on QATV-8, and

February 16-19
Lunar New Year Grab & Go
Pollard Memorial Library, Lowell
Celebrate Lunar New Year during School Vacation Week, grades four and under. Pick up your craft bag at the Pollard Library, which includes a dragon craft, foam lantern kit, coloring book and box of crayons.

February 20
Vietnamese Lunar Year Celebration 2021
Dorchester, Boston
Noon  – 1 p.m. / Free
VietAID celebrates its annual Lunar New Year (Tết), considered the biggest and most important festival for the Vietnamese people.  The celebration features children’s activities, traditional ceremonies and entertainment.

February 27
Easy Japanese Home Cooking for Non-Chefs
Japan Society of Boston
5-6 p.m.
Masayo Kawaguchi shows you how to make Kamonanban, a Japanese noodle dish made with soba, duck and Japanese leeks or Welsh onions. Registration required.

Ongoing through May 2021
The Kimono in Print: 300 Years of Japanese Design
Worcester Art Museum
Celebrate Lunar New Year by enjoying the exhibition, The Kimono in Print: 300 Years of Japanese Design, which runs through May 2, 2021. The exhibit includes 70 Japanese prints, plus a selection of illustrated woodblock printed books and paintings.

Ongoing through June 20, 2021
Shen Wei: Painting in Motion Exhibit
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston
Dancer, photographer, painter and filmmaker Shen Wei creates immersive visual environments that evoke ancient Chinese landscape paintings combined with 20th century abstractionism.

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