Year of the Dragon: Celebrating the Lunar New Year in Houston

Lunar New Year, or the Spring Festival, marks the beginning of a new year on the lunisolar calendar. A time for togetherness, friends and family often gather during Lunar New Year to share traditions that honor every generation. Lunar New Year is most often celebrated with time-honored traditions such as gift-giving, dragon or lion dances, or setting off fireworks! Here are some ways you can celebrate Lunar New Year in Houston with your family.

red background with Chinese dragon and fanThe date for Lunar New Year changes every year. This year, the 15-day celebration will begin on February 10, 2024. It is the year of the Dragon, the fifth animal in the Chinese zodiac and the only mythical creature out of all the animals featured. The Dragon represents power, honor, luck, strength and good health, and those born during this year are thought to be charismatic, intelligent, confident and lucky.

Prep for the Year of the Dragon

Cleaning your house is thought to welcome good fortune, prosperity and happiness for the upcoming year. Sweep, mop, dust, vaccuum and take out the trash before the stroke of midnight on Lunar New Year’s Eve to remove any bad luck from your home. And if you need a haircut or a trim, be sure to get this done before February 10! Cutting or washing your hair on the first day of the new year might “wash away” any good fortune coming your way. In fact, cleaning of any kind on the first day of the new year is prohibited — you shouldn’t even do the dishes!

Symbolic Colors

Red, green, gold and yellow are symbolic colors for LNY. Red brings good fortune, and green is a symbol of wellness and health. Gold is representative of prosperity, and yellow means hope for a lucky year ahead. These colors are often weaved into LNY celebrations to encourage luck and wealth in the new year.

Auspicious Foods

Specific auspicious foods must be eaten during LNY for their symbolic meanings. Here are some dishes that you might find at a LNY gathering: steamed whole fish (for abundance), dumplings (for fortune), spring rolls (for wealth), tangyuan (for reunion of family and friends), oranges (for happiness), nian gao (for prosperity) and longevity noodles (for a long, healthy life).

A “tray of togetherness,” or a special candy box of treats, is often shared amongst family members and their guests. These beautiful platters are often divided into either six or eight sections that hold symbolic candies, fruits, nuts and chocolate coins.

Lantern Festival

The final day of the LNY celebration culminates with the Lantern Festival. Traditionally, lanterns are launched into the night sky, symbolizing a release of your past self. Share in this tradition at home by making your own lanterns.


The Dragon Dance and the Lion Dance are exciting LNY traditions! The Dragon Dance brings about strength, power and prosperity in the new year, whereas the Lion Dance serves to scare away evil spirits for good luck. These performances are an integral part of any LNY celebration.

Celebrating Lunar New Year in Houston

Living in one of the most diverse cities in the country means there are plenty of ways to learn about the different cultures and traditions that surround us. There are many options for celebrating Lunar New Year in Houston with your kids.

The Woodlands Children’s Museum

Feb. 3, 2024

Visit the Woodlands Children’s Museum on Saturday, Feb. 3 for their special LNY event. LNY activities are included in the price of admission. The Houston Lion Kings will conduct three performances that day: 10:30, 11:30 and 12:30.

Asia Society

Feb. 10, 2024

This free event is open to the public, but registration is required. Traditional lion dancers will perform on the lawn outside; inside, create your own Lunar New Year-inspired crafts! Additionally, you can purchase tickets to watch performances by the Huaxing Arts Group Houston.

Central Market

Feb. 10, 2024

Prepare a festive LNY meal in honor of the Year of the Dragon. Menu items include: longevity noodle soup, steamed chicken dumplings, chicken lettuce wraps, sweet and sour shrimp, steamed fish with ginger scallion sauce and a variety of Asian fruits. Price: $85 per person.

Discovery Green

Feb. 11, 2024

Register for this free Lunar New Year celebration featuring Lee’s Golden Dragon and other performers, crafts and food vendors.

Being able to celebrate and embrace other cultures is an incredible gift to share with our families. Having knowledge and understanding of different holidays can help us understand each other’s cultural traditions. How will you celebrate The Year of the Dragon in Houston this year? 


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