When and where to celebrate the Lunar New Year in Orlando


  • photo via centralfloridadragonparade.org

It's the Year of the Goat, and we're ready to party. Fortunately, Orlando's strong and vibrant Asian community means there are many choice events at which to get your Tet on in 2015. We've listed the biggies below, but for more on the holiday, we turned to local food blogger Ricky Ly. A few tips he passed on to us:

How to say Happy New Year in Vietnamese: Chuc Mung Nam Moi!

Traditional foods of the New Year: long noodles, which represent longevity; dumplings, which resemble gold nuggets and symbolize good fortune; oranges, because they look like gold and represent wealth; whole fish, because the Chinese word for fish sounds like the Chinese word for abundance; and fried spring rolls, because their Chinese name sounds like “good fortune” so they symbolize luck.

Wash it all down with baijiu, the traditional clear grain spirit made from sorghum and wheat. “Like vodka to the Russians, rum to Puerto Rico, baijiu is to the Chinese,” Ricky says.

For more on Lunar New Year traditions, restaurants in which to celebrate, markets that stock traditional New Year treats, and much more, check out Ricky’s guide on his site, Tasty Chomps.

10 a.m.-midnight Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 31-Feb. 1
Vietnamese New Year Festival by the Vietnamese Catholic Church, at the Central Florida Fairgrounds, 4603 W. Colonial Drive (we blogged about this one here).

10 a.m. Saturday-Sunday, Feb. 7-8:
Vietnamese New Year Festival by the Vietnamese Community of Central Florida, at the Central Florida Fairgrounds, 4603 W. Colonial Drive (also at this festival: the Miss Vietnam of Florida Pageant).

8 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 15
Vietnamese Vegetarian Food Festival at Bao An Buddhist Temple, 5788 N. Apopka Vineland Road (veggie food and traditional performance and singing).

7 p.m.-midnight Wednesday, Feb. 18, and 11 a.m. Thursday-Sunday, Feb. 19-22
Phap Vu Buddhist Cultural Centre of Florida Tet Celebration, 716 N. Dean Road (celebrate New Year at midnight Wednesday, plus four more days of cultural activities, performances and vegetarian food).

11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 22
Dragon Parade and Lunar New Year Festival, at the Orlando Fashion Square Mall (a victim of success, moved from its mega-successful home in Mills 50 because they needed more space).