Where to celebrate Chinese New Year in Atlanta

It’s the Year of the Fire Rooster. Celebrate accordingly.
Traditional dancers parade through Sweet Auburn BBQ.

Photo courtesy of Sweet Auburn BBQ

The Chinese Lunar New Year, also called the Spring Festival, will take place this year on January 28. It is a time for families to gather with loved ones, feast, and take a break from work. People often celebrate by lighting firecrackers, attending parades or events with lion dancing (which is performed for good luck), honoring their ancestors, and, my favorite part, eating multicourse feasts. The calendar is marked by the Chinese animal zodiac, which repeats every 12 years. 2016 was the year of the Fire Monkey, known for being ambitious, adventurous, and irritable. 2017 is the Year of the Fire Rooster, which is observant, hardworking, resourceful, courageous, and talented. Fun fact: famous roosters include Martin Luther King III, Stephen Fry, Jennifer Aniston, Hans Zimmer, and Bob Marley.

On January 14, I attended a Chinese New Year celebration at Canton House on Buford Highway. The kickoff party was held by Natalie Keng, one-half of the mother-daughter team Chinese Southern Belles, who specialize in culinary education. During the three-hour affair, attendees participated in chopsticks races, trivia, and ate a ten-course meal designed to beckon good fortune in the new year. A clay pot of sizzling chicken, Chinese sausage, and shitake mushrooms, for example, was served to foster family and togetherness, and fresh baby bok choy was served for youth and vitality. Canton House will host more festivities on January 29, and there are many more around town that are both kid-friendly and/or worthy of a night out with your favorite person. If you have never participated in a Chinese New Year celebration, it is a must-do experience.

2017 Atlanta Chinese Lunar New Year Festival 
The Cultural Center of Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Atlanta is holding a festival at the Atlanta Chinatown Mall on January 28-29. There will be lion dancing, cultural and art exhibitions, and festival food. Tickets are $5 per person with free admission for children under three and a half feet tall. Park at the Atlanta Interactive College of Technology (5303 New Peachtree Road, Chamblee), and take the free shuttle between the Interactive College and Chinatown. 5377 New Peachtree Road, Chamblee

Chinese New Year at Canton House
From January 26 through February 5, diners who make reservations at Canton House will receive a free gift, and parties of eight or more will receive a bottle of red wine. The restaurant will hold a lion dance on January 29 at 9:30 a.m., and a special kung fu performance at 9:30 p.m. For reservations, call 770-936-9030 or email cantonhouserestaurant@yahoo.com. 4825 Buford Highway Northeast, Chamblee, 770-936-9030

Sweet Hut Lion Dance Ceremony
The Duluth and Doraville Sweet Hut locations will hold Lion Dance events. The Duluth Sweet Hut will hold its dance on January 28 at 1:30 p.m., and the Doraville location will hold its dance on January 29 at 1:30 p.m. Contact rachel@sweethut.com or kavi@sweethut.com for more information. 2180 Pleasant Hill Boulevard, Duluth, 470-545-0762 and 5150 Buford Highway, Doraville, 470-545-2585

Betty Hsu will serve her baos during Sweet Auburn BBQ’s celebration.

Photo courtesy of Sweet Auburn BBQ

Sweet Auburn BBQ’s annual Chinese New Year Celebration
On February 2, guests can ring in the Year of the Rooster with a festive menu, specialty drinks, and lion dancers. The one-night-only menu is inspired by brother-and-sister owners Howard and Anita Hsu’s Chinese heritage and will feature baos made by their mother, Betty Hsu, BBQ egg rolls, Chinese spare ribs, and more dishes. The celebration starts at 6 p.m. Traditional lion dancers will perform throughout the restaurant at 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. No reservations are required. 656 North Highland Avenue, 678-515-3550

Lunar New Year Banquet
City Farmers Market is putting on a fine dining banquet with the Chinese Community Center at the Westin Atlanta Perimeter North on February 10 at 7 p.m. Individual tickets are $100 per person, and sponsor/corporate tables are available for $1,000 per table of 10 seats. Contact Mr. Fu-Tai Lu, Chairman of the Chinese Community Center, at futai_lu@hotmail.com for reservations. City Farmers Market will also celebrate with a lion dance and firecrackers on January 28-29 at 2:30 p.m. Westin Atlanta Perimeter North, 7 Concourse Parkway, 770-355-0409; City Farmers Market, 5000 Buford Hwy Northeast, Chamblee, 770-936-8858