Year of the Rabbit hopping across the US through San Francisco, New York

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The Independent Travel

The Chinese New Year in 2011 celebrates the Rabbit starting on February 3, with Asian American communities in cities across the US planning festivities, from San Francisco to New York City.

For more than 150 years, the Chinese New Year Festival and Parade in San Francisco, California, is the largest and oldest of its kind outside Asia with the largest population of citizens of Chinese origin in the country.

The annual series of events includes a Flower Market Fair, Miss Chinatown USA Pageant, Coronation Ball of Miss Chinatown USA, and the Chinese New Year Parade ( The parade features decorated floats, martial arts groups, stilt walkers, lion dancers, Chinese acrobatics, and the finale, a 250-foot (76 m) long 'Gum Lung' Golden Dragon, carried by a team of more than 100 men and women and followed by 600,000 firecrackers.

In Seattle, Washington, the Lunar New Year Celebration ( will be celebrated on Saturday, January 29 throughout the Chinatown-International District, which includes other populations of Asian origin including Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, and other Southeast Asians.

Activities will include calligraphy, drawing and games, Lion and Dragon dances, Taiko drumming, martial arts, the annual Children's Costume Parade Contest, and a Food Walk throughout area restaurants.

In New York City, the 12th annual Chinese New Year Parade and Festival starts with the Firecracker Ceremony and Cultural Festival. Performances continue all day including lion and dragon dance troupes that march through Chinatown streets.

The Parade happens on Sunday, February 6, heading along Canal Street, featuring more than 5,000 participants, floats, marching bands, lion and dragon dances, Asian musicians, magicians, and acrobats.

Following tradition, The Lantern Festival concludes the 15-day event on February 17.

In Los Angeles, the Chinese New Year festival ( is rung in with the Midnight Ceremony at Thien Hau Temple on February 2 in Chinatown, where thousands gather to make offerings, set off firecrackers to awaken spirits with Lion dancers joined by Buddhist and Taoist monks.

During the weekend of February 4-6, the 112th Annual Golden Dragon Parade will feature 100 floats, bands, and performers. Various events include a Ping Pong Tournament and "The Great Chinatown Scavenger Hunt" throughout the district. Festivities continue through February 13 with the 31st annual Los Angeles Chinatown Firecracker 5K/10K Walk/Run and bike ride. All events are free.