Where to celebrate the Chinese New Year

Plenty of organizations, businesses and restaurants in the D.C. area are hosting events and specials for Washingtonians to get a glimpse -- and have a taste -- of the biggest celebration in many Asian cultures.

WASHINGTON – The Chinese New Year kicks off Friday, Jan. 31 and this year’s 15- day fete celebrates the Year of the Horse.

Plenty of organizations, businesses and restaurants in the D.C. area are hosting events and specials for Washingtonians to get a glimpse — and have a taste — of what’s considered the biggest celebration in many Asian cultures.

Each year, one of 12 Chinese zodiac animals represents the New Year.

According to the Chinese Cultural Center of San Francisco, the 12 animals are the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. This year’s animal, the horse, is said to bring health and prosperity.

Parades and Festivals

The Chinese New Year Parade: The Lunar New Year is celebrated annually at the Chinatown Community Cultural Center, located at 616 H St. in Northwest, D.C. This year’s celebration falls on Feb. 2.

The day-long event, which starts at noon and ends at 5 p.m., includes live musical performances, a parade, dance and endless interactive activities for kids and adults, alike.

Fair Oaks Lunar New Year Celebration: Produced with the Washington Hai Hua Community Center, the festival at Fair Oaks in Fairfax, Va., features traditional dragon dances, music, crafts and a special lantern festival. The celebration will take place Feb. 1 and Feb. 2.

Rockville Lunar New Year Parade and Festival: This Maryland-based celebration on Feb. 1 includes a parade, an outdoor Asian street market and live entertainment from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Rockville Town Square.

Chinese New Year Stories and Celebrations: Libraries in Montgomery County, Md., are offering everything from Chinese New Year story time for young ones, to dancing and calligraphy demonstrations. Details on dates and locations are available on the website.

The Year of the Horse at Lakeforest: Lakeforest Mall started its celebrating on Monday, and festivities continue through Feb. 9. During the weekdays, the mall will showcase decor and informational exhibits. On the weekends, expect live music, lion dances and hands-on activities.

A Focus on Food

The Source by Wolfgang Puck: This downtown restaurant pulls out all the stops when it comes to celebrating the Chinese New Year. On Feb.1, Chef Scott Drewno will offer a dumpling-making class from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and bartender Woong Chang will give a lesson on how to make the restaurant’s signature Chinese New Year punch.

Then, on Feb 10, The Source will transform from a dining room into a night market, with stations serving traditional dishes, such as noodles, dumplings and skewers. Through Feb. 13, The Source will also offer a Year of the Horse tasting menu, in addition to its a la carte menu. Contact The Source for information on prices and reservations.

Zengo: Chef Richard Sandoval’s Latin-Asian fusion restaurant will celebrate the New Year with a brunch, featuring scallop and bacon goyza dumplings, shrimp and chicken spring rolls and vegetable lo mein, among other specials. Weekend brunch is offered Saturday and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Hollywood East Caf