AAPI Montclair’s second annual Lunar New Year celebration will grace the grounds of the Montclair Art Museum on Saturday, Jan. 28, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Lunar New Year is celebrated by various Asian cultures and commemorates the start of the new year on the Lunar calendar. 2023 is known as the Year of the Rabbit, which is thought to be the luckiest animal in the Chinese zodiac and is expected to bring prosperity, abundance and fertility. 

According to Winnie Wu, board member of AAPI and lead organizer of the event, the event is known as the largest human migration on Earth annually, as people travel to east Asian countries to celebrate. 

“The main thing is family togetherness,” Wu said. “We clean our houses, get a haircut, we clear our debts before the new year. So it's all about a fresh start.” 

Thanks to AAPI Montclair, residents won’t have to travel far to experience a Lunar New Year celebration. This year, residents will have the opportunity to participate in activities such as calligraphy, origami and paper cutting, and to try on hanboks, traditional Korean clothing. 

There will be performances by groups such as Drums of Thunder, Talium Tae Kwon Do, Vietnamese Cultural Dance Troop, Kohesion KPOP Dancers and others. 

Korean Traditional Dance of Choomnoori performing the fan dance. (Courtesy of ARMANDO "OUTthere" DIAZ)
Korean Traditional Dance of Choomnoori performing the fan dance. (Courtesy of

Wushu Kung Fu will be performing the Lion Dance, which is meant to ward off evil spirits. Master paper cutter Hou-Tien Cheng, known for making characters such as Mickey Mouse out of paper in a matter of minutes with scissors, will be on the scene. 

There will be food vendors providing Asian treats, and other local businesses, such as Montclair Brewery and Watchung Booksellers, will also attend. 

Assemblywoman Ellen Park, D-37, one of three Asian American women elected to state office and the first Korean American woman elected to the state legislature, will be the guest speaker. 

Julie Kim, chair of the board for AAPI Montclair, said, “We really wanted to celebrate with each other for all the people who celebrate Lunar New Year and, obviously, with the larger community, our friends and neighbors, within Montclair, and of course, the surrounding areas.

“But we wanted to do it in such a way that shows how we as Asian Americans in New Jersey in 2023 celebrate, and we are inviting the larger community to celebrate with us.” 

With the rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans over the last few years, AAPI Montclair hopes that the celebration will not only educate other communities about Asian culture, but most importantly serve as a reminder that young children should be proud of their culture.  

“We want this to be joyous and exciting for ourselves but also for our children,” Kim said. “We want them to be who they are and to be proud of who they are outside of our homes, outside of just our families and smaller communities. We want them to be able to share our traditions and to have the confidence to celebrate our culture with their friends, with their neighbors and school mates.” 

AAPI Montclair is a volunteer-run nonprofit organization that advocates for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Montclair and throughout New Jersey. Alongside AAPI, the Montclair Art Museum, Fort Lee Chinese Americans, Glen Ridge Diversity and Inclusion Association, Korean United Presbyterian Church of New Jersey, Professional Filipino American Youth, United Asian Voices of West Orange and Vietnamese Boat People are co-presenting the event. 

AAPI Montclair recommends buying tickets ahead of time, as very few tickets will be available at the door. Tickets are set at a suggested donation of $7 per person and $25 for families (limit to 5 members); kids under 5 free. Rain date: Sunday, Jan. 29. More information and tickets: aapimontclair.org/lunar-new-year


Members of Wu Shu Kung Fu Fitness performing the lion dance during last year's celebration. (KATE ALBRIGHT/FILE PHOTO)
Members of Wu Shu Kung Fu Fitness performing the lion dance during last year's celebration. (KATE ALBRIGHT/FILE PHOTO)