The Harrison’s Lunar New Year Guide: The Year of the Ox

February 5, 2021

One of the most profound parts of the San Francisco experience is the rich multicultural texture that makes up the fabric of the city. On the other side of the world from Asia, our city hosts one of the largest and oldest Lunar New Year celebrations in the world. No matter if you’re of Asian heritage or a San Francisco local that has had the pleasure of partaking in the culture, there’s plenty of good fortune this holiday season to be shared, even during the pandemic. From virtual events to prime takeout advice, here is The Harrison’s curated guide to this year’s celebration.

The Year of the Ox is said to follow a cultural tone of stability and nourishment — a nice reprieve from the tumultuous Year of the Rat we had in 2020. 

Digital Events

Virtual 2021 Chinese New Year Parade

San Francisco’s Chinatown on Thursday, February 11, is a self-guided walking tour of San Francisco’s Chinatown based on the book of the same title by award-winning author and photographer Dick Evans and celebrated journalist Kathy Chin Leong. Both a visual and literary journey into the “mélange of American and Chinese culture,” this is an immersive look at a beloved locale.

Lunar New Year Poetry and Calligraphy 

From the Asian Art Museum, the program Lunar New Year Poetry and Calligraphy will feature thematic works in both English and Mandarin from poets Michael Warr, Chun Yu, and calligrapher Aiqin Zhou on February 4th at 7:00pm. 

Chinese New Year Virtual Celebration

San Francisco Symphony’s Chinese New Year Virtual Celebration is a virtual concert hosted by Joan Chen, and featuring SF Symphony musicians, conductor Ming Luke, yangqin player Wenying Wu, erhu player Tao Shi, and other special guests. Tune in at 4:00pm on Feb. 20 and 27 on NBC Bay Area,  3:30 p.m. on Feb. 21 and Feb. 27 on KTSF 26.

Public Displays

The Year of the Ox on Parade

While San Francisco’s iconic annual Chinese New Year Festival and Parade are canceled due to the pandemic this year, The Chinese Chamber of Commerce of San Francisco is debuting a wonderful alternative: The Year of the Ox on Parade, a commission of 11 life-size ox sculptures that have been placed around the city. From now until March 14, prepare to embark on a sort of scavenger hunt to see all the oxen and scan their QR codes to learn more about each piece before they are auctioned off for charity.

Auspicious Eats

Eight Tables

Eight Tables by George Chen is offering a 5-course Chinese New Year meal for two, which may be pre-ordered online. Delight in rice-stuffed chicken wings, rose petal buns, and steamed ginger black cod among other delicacies.

Far East Cafe

Far East Cafe, one of the oldest banquet establishments in the city, is serving a Hong Kong specialty: poon choi, also known as a ‘treasure pot.’ Pre-order before 5 p.m. by calling 415-269-3960.

Image: Eight Tables Set Meal

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