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Lunar New Year is celebrated this weekend; here are some of the events planned in central Pa.

Lunar New Year is one of the year's most important celebrations among East and Southeast Asian cultures. 2023 is the Year of the Rabbit.
Credit: AP
A woman poses next to decorations for the upcoming Chinese Lunar New Year in Bangkok, Thailand, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023. Chinese New Year falls on Jan. 22 this year, marking the start of the Year of Rabbit, according to the Chinese lunar calendar.

YORK, Pa. — This weekend marks the celebration of Lunar New Year, one of the most important celebrations of the year among East and Southeast Asian cultures.

Tied to the lunar calendar, the holiday began as a time for feasting and to honor household and heavenly deities, as well as ancestors, according to History.com. The New Year typically begins with the first new moon that occurs between the end of January and spans the first 15 days of the first month of the lunar calendar—until the full moon arrives.  

Each year in the Lunar calendar is represented by one of 12 zodiac animals included in the cycle of 12 stations or “signs” along the apparent path of the sun through the cosmos. 

The 12 zodiac animals are the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. 

In addition to the animals, five elements of earth, water, fire, wood and metal are also mapped onto the traditional lunar calendar. Each year is associated with an animal that corresponds to an element.

The year 2023 is the year of the rabbit.  

Several organizations and businesses across central Pennsylvania have planned events to mark the occasion.

Here's a list:


The Little Star Chinese Language School, located at the Charlton Church, 5920 Jonestown Road, is planning to mark the Lunar New Year and to celebrate the 25th anniversary of its founding this weekend.

On Saturday at 10 a.m., Little Star students and teachers will perform the traditional lion dance and several folk and classical Chinese dances. The students will also play music and demonstrate their calligraphy works.

On Sunday at 2 p.m., Little Star students will visit Hershey's Chocolate World to share the Chinese new year dances and culture with the local community.

The school will return to Chocolate World for a similar event on Jan. 29.

Penn State Harrisburg is marking the Lunar New Year with three events:

  1. A large event on campus in the Capital Union Building Room 210 that will feature performers from within and from outside the college community. This is from 6-9 pm on Sunday, Jan 22.
  2. On Monday there will be a re-broadcast from Bejing of the New Year’s Gala in Stacks cafeteria.
  3. Monday thru Friday, there will be a scavenger hunt for stuffed rabbits across the campus.


In addition to the appearances by Little Star students, Chocolate World will also mark the Lunar New Year with several activities on Saturday, Sunday and on Jan. 29.

Visitors can translate their names in Chinese characters, take home envelopes with free chocolate samples and enjoy special potstickers and cookies. Plus, a Lunar New Year Celebration Dance on Sundays only at 2 p.m. 


The Lancaster Asian American Pacific Islanders will host the city's Lunar New Year celebration Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Ewell Plaza, 101 N. Queen St.

Activities scheduled throughout the day include: Asian food, Lion and Dragon Dance Performances, Asian decorations, bubble tea, Chinese calligraphy and more traditional activities.


Millersville University has several events planned to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

The Intercultural Center on campus will be hosting "Tabling Tuesday: Lunar New Year," on Tuesday, Jan. 24, from noon to 2 p.m.

A.S.I.A., the Asian Student Inclusivity Association, has a Lunar New Year event on Thursday, Jan. 26 from 4 to 6 p.m. in the multi-purpose room at the Student Memorial Center.

There will also be an Instagram post scheduled at the start of the week, the school said. 

Lunar New Year takes place from Saturday, Jan. 21 to Friday, Jan. 27. 

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