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OGDEN — It is one of the most important holidays in several East Asian countries, marking the start of the Chinese lunar calendar, and celebrations will be held in Utah to celebrate the Chinese New Year.
Also called the “Spring Festival,” Tuesday, Feb. 5 will be a celebration of the coming blooms of spring and represents renewal.
According to Utah Humanities, people in Utah have celebrated this holiday since 1869, when Chinese immigrants arrived here to help build the transcontinental railroad.
Each year, the ancient Chinese lunar calendar celebrates a zodiac animal, and 2019 marks the Year of the Pig. You can learn more about the Year of the Pig here.
There are festivities happening all throughout Utah. Here’s a list of places throughout Utah where you can enjoy some of the live performances, fireworks and fun, and revel in this important cultural holiday.
The Utah Chinese New Year Celebration
This annual event is put together by the Utah Chinese New Year Celebration Committee along with over 20 community organizations.
According to a press release on its website, the Utah Chunwan, as it’s called, is packed full of exciting cultural performances including traditional Chinese musical performances, Chinese kung fu, and Chinese folk songs and dances. The show will kick off with a traditional lion dance. There will also be activity booths.
On its Facebook page, the committee asks that everyone “Please come to gain a greater understanding of the holiday and to share this happy time. The organizing committee invites everyone to experience this annual cultural phenomenon.”
The event will take place at the Skyline High school auditorium at 3261 E. 3760 South in Salt Lake City, Saturday, Jan 26.
The doors will open at 6 p.m. and the performances will kick off with the lion dance at 6:45. Both parking and admission are free to all.
Vietnamese American Student Association Lunar New Year Celebration
The Vietnamese American Student Association, according to University of Utah's office for Equity and Diversity, is a group of students from the University of Utah whose aim is to promote cultural diversity by preserving Vietnamese language, heritage, and culture.
They announced on their Facebook that they will be ringing in the annual Lunar New Year with a celebration open to everyone. There will be free performances, games, food, and raffles for prizes. They also announced that there will be an art gallery with some pieces for sale.
Admission to this event is free. It will take place at the Falls Event Center at 580 S. 600 East in Salt Lake. from 4 p.m-8 p.m. this Saturday, Jan. 26.
The Salt Lake County Library Services
The Salt Lake County Library Services will be holding its second-annual Chinese New Year festival. According to its Facebook events page, the event will celebrate “the Year of the Pig and several Asian countries, cultures, and customs.”
County Librarian Karen Liu says, “It’s a wonderful opportunity for our community to gather together to experience and celebrate diversity,” as reported by Salt Lake County’s website.
She also encourages families to bring their children who are enrolled in local Chinese dual-immersion classes so they can learn more.
This celebration of Chinese culture and the Lunar New Year will take place at the county library’s Viridian Event Center at 8030 S. 1825 West in West Jordan on Saturday, Feb. 2 from 1-4 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
According to VisitSaltLake, the same library will also be hosting a traveling exhibit dedicated to sharing the stories of thousands of Chinese migrants who helped build the transcontinental railroad. The exhibit is presented by the Chinese Railroad Descendents Association and will also be held in the library’s Viridian center from Feb. 1-28. More information on this exhibit is also available at the VisitSaltLake event page.
Salt Lake City Chinatown New Year Festival
Did you know that there's a Chinatown in Salt Lake? Now you do, and whether you're looking for an authentic experience or a little taste of home, you can go to their Chinatown New Year Festival.
The New Year festival will have kung fu, traditional dancing and a prize raffle, followed by a fireworks show.
According to its website, Salt Lake City Chinatown is a Chinese and Asian themed shopping and business community nestled into 5.7 acres near the heart of Salt Lake City.
This local Chinatown boasts 100,000 square feet of stores and restaurants, a huge Asian Supermarket and a very authentic-looking traditional decorative Chinese gate at the main entrance.
The celebration will take place on Feb. 2 at the Chinatown Supermarket located at 3390 S. State. It will go from 6 p.m.-8 p.m.
This event is free to attend, and if you'd like to find more information about the event or Salt Lake's Chinatown you can here.
Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum Lunar New Year
If you’re looking for a fun learning experience for the kids, Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum is holding a Lunar New Year celebration for kids and their families.
Its event page states there will be many hands-on activities like paper lanterns, paper pig nose crafts, making flowers bloom in water and a chance to play a traditional South Korean card game.
The price is included with admission and free for members of the museum. General admission costs $12.50 per person and kids 1 and under get in free. The event will take place on the day of the Lunar New Year, Tuesday, Feb. 5 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
The museum is located at 444 W. 100 South in Salt Lake. You can find out more about the other exhibits at the museum here.
Heber Valley Railroad Chinese New Year Train
If you prefer to celebrate the Chinese New Year in a truly unique and family-friendly way, look no further than Heber Valley Railroad’s Chinese New Year Train.
Its website promises a fun, two-hour round-trip Chinese New Year themed ride on one of its trains. You can snack on fortune cookies and sip tea while you listen to traditional Chinese and western music while doing trivia and winning prizes.
Tickets cost $15 and the train departs at 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 8 and returns at 9 p.m. Also according to the website, there be an old west gunfight to watch at 6:30 p.m. and fireworks at 6:45 before boarding the train.
The Heber Valley Historic Railroad depot is located at 450 S. 600 West in Heber City. You can find out more about this event on its website.
Salt Lake City Main Library Chinese New Year Celebration
The Main branch of the Salt Lake City Library will be holding a celebration for the Chinese New Year that will take place in both its urban room and auditorium. It is open to all ages.
According to the library's website, the event will be held in partnership with the Chinese Association for Science and Technology in Utah.
The festivities will include a lion dance, family-friendly crafts, a cultural program, calligraphy workshop and a discussion of traditional Chinese medicine.
Admission is free and the event will take place on Saturday, Feb. 9 from 12:45 p.m.-5 p.m. at the Main branch of the Salt Lake City Library at 210 E. 400 South in Salt Lake.
Nakisha Rigley is currently a junior at Weber State University majoring in public relations and interning as a news writer with KSL.com.