Celebrate the Year of the Rat with the Free Library!

By Peter SM RSS Tue, January 21, 2020

Join the Free Library of Philadelphia as we celebrate Chinese New Year 2020 and the Year of the Rat!

Chinese New Year is a fifteen-day celebration that starts on the new moon (also known as Lunar New Year, or "Little Year").

On Chinese New Year, people participate in traditional activities such as:

  • Sweeping out the old year and welcoming the new
  • Rejoicing and reuniting with family
  • Cooking special foods
  • Honoring ancestors
  • Distributing and receiving red envelopes for good fortune
  • Participating in the special dragon/lion dance
  • Making loud noises with firecrackers
  • Schools and businesses are closed for an extended holiday break so people can visit families and relatives far away.

Preparations for the new year began on January 17, and last until the Chinese New Years Eve. The "Spring Festival" and the official start of Chinese New Year begins on January 25, ending on February 4. There will be Chinese New Year celebrations at neighborhood libraries during this time:

Saturday, January 25 at Lucien E. Blackwell West Philadelphia Regional Library | 2:00 p.m.
There will be Chinese New Year crafts and snack sampling from a Tray of Togetherness. Families will also be able to take home a copy of a Chinese zodiac-themed picture book (while supplies last).

Saturday, January 25 at Roxborough Library | 3:00 p.m.
Learn about traditional Chinese New Year customs, learn Chinese greetings, find out about red envelopes and Lucky Money, watch performances of the lion dance, and more!



The last part of the traditional Chinese New Year celebration is the Lantern Festival, which takes place from February 5 - 8.

You can browse and check out books and videos from our catalog that explore the hidden gems of Chinese culture and the Chinese New Year.

We look forward to welcoming you to the Free Library to explore the Chinese New Year and learn more about Chinese culture!

Have a question for Free Library staff? Please submit it to our Ask a Librarian page and receive a response within two business days.

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Ahh, Chinese New Year ~ a second chance to start the year off right: •Sweeping out the old year and welcoming the new •Rejoicing and reuniting with family •Cooking special foods •Honoring ancestors
Lisa-Jane - Philadelphia
Tuesday, January 21, 2020