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Chinese New Year-Welcome to the year of the monkey!

Chinese New Year-Welcome to the year of the monkey!

Chinese New Year falls on the new moon between 21 January and 20 February and the Year of the Monkey began February 8, 2016! The Chinese New Year is also known as the img_2434.jpgSpring Festival, which is perfectly timed in Portland as everything, like this Chinese Paper Bush, is coming into bloom. People born in a year of the Monkey (1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, or 2016) are witty, intelligent, and have a magnetic personality but personality traits, like mischievousness, curiosity, and cleverness, make them very naughty! (I can think of a few people who fall into that category!)

We enjoyed the New Year celebrations at Lan Su Chinese Garden, an unexpected and lovely walled oasis in the middle of the city.  Covering a full city img_2436.jpgblock, Lan Su was built by Chinese artisans from Suzhou in the Jiangsu province and is modeled after Ming Dynasty gardens  designed as spiritual uptopias.  Even with the crowds for Chinese New Year, it was still remarkably peaceful and if I worked downtown, it’s somewhere I’d love to escape to in the middle of the day!

There are events at the garden nearly every day from walking tours, music in the teahouse, folk art demonstrations, traditional floral arranging, craft making, Tai chi classes, discussions about the plants in the garden, performances from local cultural organizations, Chinese calligraphy classes, Chinese conversation classes, and even children’s Mandarin lessons!

The garden definitely made the most of the year of the Monkey celebrations.  As soon as we walkimg_2433.jpged in the main entrance, there were monkeys to find, with ten monkeys hidden throughout the garden, including a spider monkey visiting from South America and shadow puppets of the Monkey King.  There were also lantern riddles to solve like this one-“It’s been around for millions of years, but it’s no more than a month old. What is it?”, a wishing tree where you could toss a red ribbon to wish for prosperity, happiness and longevity and monkey themed puppet shows by Tears of Joy Theater to watch.

Of course a Chinese New Year celebration wouldn’t be complete without traditional Lion dances.  The Lee On Dong Association lions regaled us with danced stories about the origins of the lion, how the lion overcame its fears to cross the mountain and the story of three lions searching for food.  The lions pranced, jumped, climbed and made faces to the beat of the drums as they acted out the different tales.

The children thought the festival was amazing and loved the lion dancing and watching the skill of the calligraphy artists.  Cultural celebrations are so much fun to experience with children.  Even if you aren’t able to travel to a particular country or perhaps especially if you’re planning a trip they are a great introduction to another world.

Things to know before you go

Lan Su Chinese Garden is open to visitors seven days a week closing only on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.

Winter Hours

October 15 – April 14 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Summer Hours

April 15 – October 14 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Your admission gains access to the garden, Chinese Teahouse, and when offered, public tours and events and activities during regular hours.

Free — Members

$9.50 — Adults

$8.50 — Seniors (age 62 & over)

$7.00 — Students (age 6-18 and college students with I.D.)

$28 — Family Pass (two adults, two students)

Children five and under are free

    7 Comments

  1. Next year I really must take Monkey to China Town to experience the celebrations, something I’ve always wanted to see for myself too #WtWW

    • Lion dancing is pretty much guaranteed at any Chinese New Year Celebration and always a big hit.

  2. Ooh, this looks fab! I love seeing all the Chinese New Year celebrations! I haven’t been to any myself, but would love to, not sure if there any up here in Scotland. It sounds like you had a lot of fun at the festivities. My littlest should really be in the year if the monkey, but I think he’s a horse or something! Thanks so much for linking I up to #Whatevertheweather 🙂 x

  3. Wow this sounds like an incredible celebration to witness and be apart of. I’d love to try some of the classes and crafts that are on offer and to see the Lion dances. It sounds like they really go all out and it’s all really beautiful. I love riddles too, I would have had to try and solve them all. One day I’d love to see the celebrations for myself. Thank you so much for sharing your adventure with #whatevertheweather x

    • Evidently I’m having a bit of an issue with the comments section I need to address. Both comments came through. Sorry about that!

  4. I’m not sure if my last comment posted or not? Sorry if you get this twice!!!

    This sounds so lovely. I’d love to see some Chinese New Year celebrations for myself. It must be amazing to see the Lion dances and I’d love to take part in some of the classes and crafts that they put on. It sounds like the really go all out and it must be such an incredible atmosphere. Thank you so much for sharing your adventure with #whatevertheweather x

  5. As you know, we always celebrate Chinese New Year in our household. Lan Su Chinese Garden looks like a wonderful pace to celebrate. The dragons are our favourite part too! Thanks for linking up with #MondayEscapes

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