Chúc mừng năm mới! In other, more English words, happy Lunar New Year. My personal favorite holiday and the most popular for many Asian-American communities, Lunar New Year lives somewhere in the realm of the western New Year, Thanksgiving and Christmas, with a touch of the Mexican Day of the Dead. Filled with family feasts and rituals, gift exchanges and elaborate costumed performances, this multiday celebration is a perfect way to experience the care and warmth of some of Rhode Island's most colorful immigrant communities. As GoProvidence's No. 1 Vietnamese person, here are some of the spots and happenings I recommend you check out this Lunar New Year.
Looking to celebrate at home? Good Fortune Supermarket in Elmwood has everything you need for a traditional home New Year celebration. Along with being one of the most comprehensive Chinese supermarkets I have ever seen in my life, Good Fortune has you covered with traditional New Year sweets like dried lotus seeds and preserved coconut, as well as festive red decor.
Tea is central to many rituals and traditions during Lunar New Year. It represents good health and prosperity. Plus, it makes an excellent gift from younger folks to their elders. Ceremony is an Asian-owned cafe and tea house. In a city where you can kick a pebble in any direction and find a cafe, Ceremony stands out with Asian-inspired beverages and pastries. Available for purchase are proprietary loose-leaf teas alongside tea ware for a perfect brewing (and gift-giving) experience.
For a unique upscale take on Lunar New Year foods, consider Castle Hill Inn's three-course Lunar New Year menu in the dining room, running Feb. 6–7. With east-meets-west takes on traditional New Year dishes, like steamed sole and chicken and truffle dumplings, this experience is a great culinary starting point for those new to the holiday and its millennia-deep traditions.
Remember those elaborate costumed performances I mentioned earlier? It wouldn't totally be Lunar New Year without lion dancers. Stop by Garden City Center in Cranston for an engaging, family-friendly performance from the Rhode Island Kung Fu Club on Feb. 17 from 1–1:30 p.m.