Celebrate the Year of the Rat during Chinese New Year in Birmingham

Birmingham, Birmingham Chinese Festival Association, Chinese New Year
Photo via Birmingham Chinese Festival Association on Facebook

Saturday, January 25 marks the first day of the Chinese New Year, beginning the Year of the Rat. Here are some cool things to know and where to celebrate in Birmingham.

What is Chinese New Year?

Birmingham, Birmingham Chinese Festival Association, Chinese New Year
Photo via Birmingham Chinese Festival Association

Here are some quick (and interesting) facts:

  • It’s a festival that celebrates the beginning of a new year on the traditional Chinese calendar. 
  • It’s generally referred to (globally) as Lunar New Year and one of many in Asia.
  • It’s a major holiday in Greater China and has strongly influenced Lunar New Year celebrations for China’s neighboring cultures.
  • It’s referred to as the Spring Festival in Mainland China.
  • Observances traditionally take place from the evening preceding the first day of the year to the Lantern Festival, held on the 15th day of the year.

Were you born in the year of the Rat?

Birmingham, Birmingham Chinese Community, Chinese New Year
Photo via Birmingham Chinese Community on Facebook

A Rat year occurs every 12 years. The Rat is your year if you were born in the following years: 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020.

Chances are you have some of these character traits:

  • Smart
  • Wealthy
  • Successful
  • Popular
  • Curious
  • Thoughtful
  • Tidy

You may also be a bit on the stubborn side and lack some courage. Eep! Looks like your good traits weight these out though. 

The Chinese New Year in Birmingham

Birmingham, Birmingham Chinese Community, Chinese New Year
Photo via Birmingham Chinese Community on Facebook

Birmingham celebrated its very first Chinese New Year Festival in February 2006. Beginning with an outdoor dragon dance and fireworks at Linn Park, the parade led people of all ages to the Birmingham Museum of Art which hosted outdoor and indoor activities including:

  • Art
  • Dance and music performances
  • Children’s film
  • Acrobats

The festival was a success and has continued to be an annual event for the past 14 years.

How can you celebrate Chinese New Year?

Anyone and everyone can celebrate the Chinese New Year. And there are some fun events taking place in Birmingham that you can take part in. Here are two:

What: Lunar New Year
Where: Hoover Public Library. 200 Municipal Dr., Hoover, AL 35216
Date: Tuesday, January 21
Time: 6:30-7:30PM
Price: FREE
Details: Hosted by the Birmingham Chinese Community and Hoover Public Library, this event will include food, arts, crafts and cultural activities. 

What: 14th Annual Birmingham Chinese New Year Gala
Details: $7. Kids 12 & under FREE. Families with children adopted from China FREE
Where: Boutwell Auditorium. 1930 Reverend Abraham Woods, Jr. Blvd., Birmingham, AL 35203
Date: Saturday, January 25
Time: 10:30AM-2:30PM
Price: Tickets (online or at door)
Tickets

Lucky Food Choices

Birmingham, Chinese New Year
Which lucky food items will you try this Chinese New Year? Photo via Gabi Hembree for Bham Now

If you’re seeking a year of lucky, you’ll want to eat foods that are rich in symbolic meaning. Here are some lucky Chinese New Year foods to pile high on your plate:

  • Fish (prosperity)
  • Chinese dumplings (wealth)
  • Sweet rice balls (family togetherness)

Do you celebrate Chinese New Year? Let us know what you’ll be doing, Birmingham!