Chinese New Year: Celebrating The Year of the Monkey in New Jersey

It’s time to start anew and sweep out all the bad luck of 2015. Celebrating Chinese New Year with your family can be a blast, not to mention cleansing! Of course, New York City's celebrations are wonderful, but there is a ton of fun to be had in New Jersey as well. Bring in the Year of the Monkey the right way, with dance, family workshops, music or stay home for cleaning, food, crafts and more! 

Year of the Monkey:Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company performance at the NJPAC (Newark, NJ)
February 6 and 7 at 2pm
Chase away the winter blues and begin the year with energy, cheer, fun and wit by celebrating the Year of the Monkey with the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company. Dancers and acrobats in dazzling costumes move to exotic music, bringing a smile to your face and warmth to your heart. 

Chinese New Year Celebration at the Princeton Public Library (Princeton, NJ)
Saturday, February 13, 3pm to 4pm
This fun event is hosted by students from both Princeton High School's Chinese Club and Chinese language classes. Kids and their parents are invited to celebrate the Year of the Monkey by experiencing traditional music, dance, games and crafts. Activities will be held in the library's community room.

Chinese New Year Celebration at the Garden State Discovery Museum (Cherry Hill, NJ)
Saturday, February 6 from 11am to 6pm and Sunday, February 7 from 11am to 3pm
The Garden State Discovery Museum welcomes the Year of the Monkey! Ring in the Lunar New Year with Chinese sights and sounds. Lanterns will be released at 5pm on Saturday, February 6 in the museum's Butterfly Garden. 

Chinese New Year at Bergen County Zoo (Paramus, NJ)
Saturday, February 6, 11am to 3pm
Celebrate the Chinese Year of the Monkey with a visit to the zoo's live primates and a special craft activity. An added bonus, admission to the zoo is free during the winter months. 

Chinese New Year Celebration at the Reeves-Reed Arboretum (Summit, NJ)
Monday, February 8 from 10am to 11am and 1pm to 2pm
Ring in the Chinese New Year at the Reeves-Reed Arboretum. Their celebration will include crafts and stories commemorating the Year of the Monkey. This event is for ages 3 and up with an adult. Registration is required, register here.

You don’t have to go out to celebrate Chinese New Year. Here are some tips to celebrate the Year of the Sheep at home:

  • Clean your home. Yes, it sounds like a chore, but it is traditional to clean your home before the New Year to “sweep away the bad luck.” Get the kids to help out! But, don’t clean during the New Year – or you risk sweeping away all the good luck that will come in the new year.
  • Be a wok star! Making traditional foods is a big way to celebrate the New Year. A large New Year’s Eve meal is the most important dinner of the year on the Chinese calendar. Try some recipes like Guotie Pot Stickers, Peking Duck or Green Tea Fortune Cookies here. Or try one of the recipes listed on the Epicurious Lunar New Year menu page.
  • Get crafty. Try some of these fantastic crafts to celebrate the New Year with the kids, including Chinese Lanterns, Dancing Dragons and Paper Bag Puppets here.

Image courtesy of NJPAC and the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company.

Originally published 2012

New Jersey Performing Arts Center
1 Center Street
Newark, NJ 07102

Garden State Discovery Museum
2040 Springdale Road, Suite 100
Cherry Hill, NJ

Reeves-Reed Arboretum
165 Hobart Avenue
Summit, NJ 07901

Bergen County Zoo
216 Forest Avenue
Paramus, NJ 07652

Princeton Public Library
65 Witherspoon Street
Princeton, NJ 08542
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