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Lion dance for lunar new year Photo courtesy Innovate Marketing Group
Let's dance: Innovate Marketing Group delights guests with a traditional lion dance.

Lunar New Year: Celebrating with 'Year of the Rat' Events

This multicultural event pro gives tips on bringing fun traditions to Lunar New Year celebrations.

Ready to ring in the Lunar New Year with fun and entertaining event ideas? Take your Lunar New Year celebration—officially starting Jan. 25—and spruce it up in time for the 2020: the Year of the Rat. The ancient celebration is a time to commemorate prosperity, health and good fortune with friends and family.

Many brands have tapped into this Asian holiday to either introduce and/or expand their sales to the Asian market. Disneyland is the perfect example with its annual Lunar New Year Celebration at the park. See some of their activities here in preparation for the big holiday and New Year.

With so many traditions to draw from, my company brings a modern twist to holiday celebrations. From the lion dance, tea ceremony, sugar painting and Chinese calligraphy to dough modeling, these activities are sure to get your guests off their feet and engaged.

  • Lion dance: The traditional lion dance brings your event to life with a bang. Lions will be awakened in the “eye dotting” ceremony and rise to new heights as they dance their way through the crowd. The lions interact and welcome guests with the batting of their eyelashes. This traditional lion dance can be used for many occasions, especially grand openings, as it brings good luck and fortune.
  • Tea ceremony: For a more relaxing option, guests can learn the art of tea during a traditional tea ceremony. The tea ceremony represents harmony, respect, purity and tranquility. Pair the ceremony up with a traditional Asian instrument performance and your event will truly bring the cultural aspect to life.
  • Sugar painting: This traditional folk art uses hot, liquid sugar to create intricate designs, ranging from animals to flowers. Kids will love this sweet snack to celebrate the New Year.
  • Chinese calligraphy: On to more hands-on activities--turn your guests’ names into a Chinese calligraphy work of art! A calligrapher can translate names into Chinese characters for some great memorabilia that guests can take home.
  • Dough modeling: Unleash your inner artist by creating dough figurines using a base of glutinous rice flour. Guests can sculpt different characters and animals into various shapes and bright colors, such as a rat to celebrate this year’s zodiac animal!

The year 2020 is the Year of the Rat, from Jan. 25, 2020, until Feb. 11, 2021. Use the chart below to discover your Zodiac Animal and corresponding personality traits based on the year you were born:

1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020
Quick-witted, resourceful, versatile, kind

1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021
Diligent, dependable, strong, determined

1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, 2022
Brave, confident, competitive

1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, 2023
Quiet, elegant, kind, responsible

1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012, 2024
Confident, intelligent, enthusiastic

1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013, 2025
Enigmatic, intelligent, wise

1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014, 2026
Animated, active, energetic

1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015, 2027
Calm, gentle, sympathetic

1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016, 2028
Sharp, smart, curious

1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017, 2029
Observant, hardworking, courageous

1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018, 2030
Lovely, honest, prudent

1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019, 2031
Compassionate, generous, diligent

Chart courtesy of China Highlights

Amanda Ma is founder and CEO of Pasadena, Calif.-based Innovate Marketing Group, which specializes in multicultural events for clients including East West Bank, Zojirushi, the Los Angeles County Arboretum, Honda, TikTok and SF Express.

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