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Happy Lunar New Year, 608

Ring in the Year of the Rabbit with this local organization.

Lion Dancers showing off their costumes.

Feeling lucky? The Sar Ping Lion Dance is meant to bring luck and fortune to the coming year.

Photo by @zykfa

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What is the Lunar New Year?

Did you know some 2 billion people celebrate the Lunar New Year? The start of the holiday coincides with the date of the new moon in Asia, which is Sunday, Jan. 22.

Each year on the lunar calendar is represented by one of 12 animals — on a 12-year cycle — and 2023 is the Year of the Rabbit. In Chinese culture, people born in a rabbit year (1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, or 2011) are said to be caring, attentive to details, and good at making friends — and they’re predicted to have a year of excitement, prosperity, and surprises ahead.


This Lunar New Year, Madisonians are invited to celebrate the occasion with the Zhong Yi Kung Fu Association (ZYKFA). Since 1995, ZYKFA has been helping businesses, schools and community groups celebrate the Lunar New Year and learn traditional Chinese martial arts.

Lion Dances

Throughout the next couple of weeks, the organization will be performing Lion Dances around the 608 in honor of the holiday. Lion Dances are often performed to bring good luck to spectators, restaurants, and other businesses.

Under each lion costume, there are two members of the dance troupe — one controlling the head and one controlling the body — who theatrically operate the costume while red envelopes are “fed” to them by spectators.

These red envelopes contain monetary offerings for the lions who will, in turn, bless the people and/or businesses to ensure good fortune in the coming year.

Where to watch

While ZYKFA is performing multiple Lion Dances this season, we suggest checking out their State Street event on Sunday, Feb. 5 at 12 p.m.

In addition to the dancing, ZYKFA will also be blessing a few State Street storefronts at this event. Head over to Peace Park where you’ll have a front-row seat to the celebratory occasion.

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