The Chinese New Year kicks off on Friday, February 16 and Columbus has plenty of options to celebrate the incoming year of the dog as 2018 is known, according to Chinese tradition. The Chinese New Year changes each year because it is based on the lunar calendar and it is often observed with firecrackers, lion dances, and the exchanging of red envelopes stuffed with cash (today there are red envelope apps to send money to someone electronically as well). Those born in the year of the dog—1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, and 2018—are said to be loyal, honest, and cautious, according to Chinese lore.

A good place to experience the Chinese New Year is at the Ohio State University which will hold a celebration on Monday, February 19 at Hagerty Hall from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event will feature a lion dance performance, a calligraphy demo, Chinese music, and cultural displays. There will also be traditional Chinese cuisine. More information can be found at the East Asian Studies Center at OSU.

The Greater Columbus Chinese Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a networking dinner on Tuesday, February 13 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at ​Fortune Chinese Restaurant. They will be discussing, among other topics, “the origin of the lunar calendar and how it may affect business in Asian countries.”

For those looking to celebrate Chinese New Year at a restaurant, Columbus boasts a handful of choices. My top choice is China Dynasty in Arlington which features Chinese lion dance performances on Monday, February 12 and Tuesday, February 13 at 6:30 p.m. They also have a special buffet to mark Chinese New Year on Sunday February 18 which lasts from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. The buffet menu for Chinese New Year can be found here.

Hunan Lion, which has two locations in Columbus, specializes in food from the Hunan provenance of China and its food is known to be dry and spicy (and quite tasty, in my opinion).

Sunflower Chinese Restaurant offers dim sum on weekends, as does Sun Tong Luck Asian Cuisine. Another great way to celebrate Chinese New Year is with dumplings and I am told the newly opened Jiu Thai Asian Café serves terrific Northern Chinese food (the word Thai in the name can be a bit confusing). Peking Dynasty, on Fifth Avenue, is always a long-time customer favorite and most Chinese restaurants like Peking Dynasty will cook up special dishes to mark Chinese New Year.

Of course, for those who prefer to observe Chinese New Year in a shopping mall, Columbus has you covered, too. Molly Woo’s at the Polaris Fashion Place is holding a slew of events from February 16 until March 2. Highlights include a Chinese Lion Dance celebration served with a three-course meal on Monday, February 26. More information, can be found on their website.