01/17/2012 04:07 pm ET Updated Mar 18, 2012

Happy (Lunar) New Year Events for Denver

Asian Americans get to celebrate the New Year twice -- once by the Western calendar, and again when Lunar New Year comes around, a month or two later.

Depending on the year, Lunar New Year, often called "Chinese New Year" even though it's celebrated throughout much of Asia and not just in China, can fall in January or February. The Lunar New Year is marked by the 12 signs of the zodiac in Chinese culture.

This year, the Year of the Dragon gets ushered in on Monday, January 23.

Many of Denver's Asian communities and organizations host banquets and events for Lunar New Year, and some of them have already passed. But the majority are still to come. Here's a rundown, courtesy of the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival's Asian Community Calendar (full disclosure: I volunteer for CDBF and compiled this calendar):

Year of the Dragon Chinese New Year Festival

When: Sat. Jan 21, Cultural Fair 11 a.m.- 6:30 p.m., Celebration Show w/ Int'l Performers 1 p.m.-2:30 p.m. & 4 p.m.-5:30 p.m., Gala Dinner & Silent Auction 6 p.m.-8 p.m.
Where: Arvada Center for the Arts & Humanities, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd, Arvada
Cost: Free cultural fair, $18 performances, $50 dinner & silent auction

Celebrate the Lunar New Year with an all-day festival that includes a cultural exhibition, two showings of international performers and a gala dinner, sponsored by Colorado Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Arvada Sister Cities International. For tickets and information call 303-295-7625 or 303-295-3304.

10th Annual Colorado Chinese New Year Celebration

When: Sat. Jan 21, 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. (Cultural Fair & Children's Games 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Taste of China Food Booths 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Celebration Show 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Where: Calvary Temple (Near Cherry Creek Mall), 200 S. University Blvd., Denver
Cost: $15, Children 3-17, seniors over 70 & groups of 20 or more $12, VIP Seating $50

Join the Chinese American Foundation of Colorado and Denver Chinese School in partnership with Denver Language School for a journey to the Far East right here in Denver. Experience the most exciting Chinese cultural event: Enjoy a first-class cultural performance by internationally renowned and award-winning artists from China and around the U.S. including acrobats, magic, Beijing opera, lion dance, music, gongfu and more; savor a variety of specially made authentic Chinese food; and experience folk arts and crafts, including calligraphy, traditional costumes and fun ancient games. For tickets call 720-270-7032, or visit

Joy of Living Lunar New Year Dinner hosted by Asian Avenue Magazine

When: Sun. Jan 22, 5:30-8 p.m.
Where: Empress Seafood Restaurant, 2825 W. Alameda Ave., Denver
Cost: $30 for Joy of Living Club members and $35 for guests. Please RSVP to 303.937.6888 or email by Jan. 18th.

"Asian Avenue" Magazine's Joy of Living Club Lunar New Year's Dinner, now in its fourth year will be starting the Year of the Dragon right with an authentic Chinese dinner, lion dance by the Colorado Asian Cultural Heritage Center, Kung Fu demonstration by the Denver Buddhist Cultural Society, Chinese Imperial Fashion Show and other unique performances. We will also be recognizing ladies receiving the President's Service Award for volunteering with Asian Avenue's Miss Asian American Colorado Leadership Program. We have a fun evening planned with door prizes and trivia!

Far East Center Chinese New Year Celebration

When: Sat, Jan. 28, noon, 2:30 and 3 p.m. and Sun. Jan. 29, noon
Where: Truong An, 333 S. Federal Blvd. in the Far East Center off Alameda Ave. and Federal Blvd., Denver
Cost: Free

Celebrate the Lunar New Year with Truong An Gifts and the other merchants and restaurants in the Far East Center! Shaolin Hung Mei Kug Fu Academy performs its accaimed Lion Dance on Sat. Jan. 28 at noon and the Colorado Asian Cultural Heritage Center performs at 2:30 and 3 p.m. On Sunday Jan 29, Tai Kung Ha performs at noon. Call Truong An for more information, 303-936-5004,

OCA/JACL Year of the Dragon Lunar New Year Banquet

When: Sat. Feb. 4, 6 p.m.
Where: Palace Chinese Restaurant, 6265 E. Evans Ave., Denver 80222
Cost: $45 per person

Join the Organization of Chinese Americans and Mile-Hi chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League for their annual Lunar New Year banquet, with a Lion Dance, raffles and giveaways, entertainment and a 10-course feast. Contact Benny Cheng at 303-888-0777 or RSVP to Richard Hamai at 303-839-9637,

APDC's 2012 Lunar New Year Dinner

When: Sat. Feb. 11, 5:30 p.m.
Where: Palace Chinese Restaurant, 6265 E. Evans Ave., Denver 80222
Cost: $55 per person

Celebrate the Year of the Dragon with the Asian Pacific Development Center, a community-based, nonprofit, 501 (c) (3) organization founded in 1980 to serve the culturally relevant health and mental health needs of a growing population of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AA/PI) residents throughout Colorado. RSVP and purchase tickets online.

Happy New Year, everyone!

For the record, Japan celebrates New Year on Jan. 1, while other Asian communities, including the Laotians, Cambodians and Indians, mark the start of the year according to different calendars. In India New Year's celebrations vary by region.