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February 1, 2019

10 Ways to Have the Best Lunar New Year at OMCA

Explore a range of Asian cultures at the annual community festival

OMCA Staff

The tradition of Lunar New Year is celebrated around the world. At the Oakland Museum of California, our annual celebration highlights the many Asian cultures represented around the Bay Area. 

This year’s Lunar New Year and Other Asian Traditions event on Sunday, February 10 marks the Year of the Pig, a year that symbolizes friendship, hard work, and benevolence.

Whether you come every year or you are just beginning to learn about these traditions, here are ten ways to engage with this colorful festival of good fortune at OMCA.

1. Plan ahead
Avoid the long line—buy tickets online. Even better, get an OMCA Membership so you can skip the line and come back to the Museum for free.

2. Check the schedule in advance
From 12 to 4:30, there will be lots to see and do, so make sure you plan ahead! Here’s a link to the day’s events.

3. Take BART
Part of the Lunar New Year tradition is cleaning your home to make way for good fortune. In the same spirit, choose a cleaner way to commute, and take BART to the celebration. OMCA is only a block away from Lake Merritt Station, making the trip easy.

4. Come ready to eat!
An important part of the Lunar New Year in many Asian cultures is sharing food with family. At OMCA, learn how to make your own spring rolls, a Vietnamese tradition. You can also enjoy delicious Asian-inspired food trucks and Blue Oak café’s Asian treats from local restaurants.

5. Get decorated
Decorate yourself and the little ones with Lunar New Year at one of our face painting activity stations. Special vendors will have great Lunar New Year-themed merchandise for sale with even more in the OMCA Store.

6. Get in the spirit with the lion and dragon dances
In Chinese tradition, the lion symbolizes good fortune and wisdom, while the dragon is life-giving, powerful, and friendly. These ferocious creatures are said to scare off bad spirits and bring in happiness. A roaring lion dance starts off the celebration at OMCA, and the event always closes with a majestic dragon dance.

7. Get to know your zodiac
2018 marks the Year of the Pig, one of twelve animals in the Lunar zodiac. People born in the Year of the Pig are said to be honest and thoughtful with a great sense of responsibility. Learn more about the symbolism of the Pig during story time with author Oliver Chin.

8. Make some noise
Loud sounds, like firecrackers, are used on Lunar New Year to scare away bad spirits. At OMCA’s celebration, chase the evil away with the sounds of different drumming traditions from Japanese Taiko with Jiten Daiko to Malaysian 24 Festival Drums, to traditional Korean drumming, known as Utdari Samulnori.

9. Savor cultural dance
Enjoy a range of cultural dances from Chinese acrobatics by Red Panda Acrobats to energetic K-pop dance performed by the UC Berkeley Korean Performance Group. Let the sounds and dazzling costumes of these talented groups bring you happiness and excitement for a New Year.

10. Be wowed
Your jaw will drop with awesome demonstrations of magic tricks of Perry Yan the Magician, Vietnamese martial arts by Vovinam America, and Chinese Yo-Yo tricks from Foothill High School students.


The 18th Annual Lunar New Year Celebration and Other Asian Traditions: Year of the Pig will be held on Sunday, February 10, 2019, 12–4:30 pm

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