Lunar New Year celebrations have hit the U.S. capital with performing arts shows and a festive parade.

CGTN’s Connie Lee tells us how Washington is bringing in the Year of the Pig.

Beating drums and the banging of gongs—this is what Lunar New Year sounds like in the nation’s capital.

Washington welcomes the Year of the Pig with lion dancers and music through Chinatown’s annual Lunar New Year parade. The organizers say this year’s parade is the biggest and most diverse ever, with more than 1,200 participants and over a hundred volunteers who are all wearing fun pig hats.

Despite frigid temperatures, the event brings together many generations—performers and attendees alike.

“I wanted my kids to experience Chinese culture for the Chinese New Year. It’s an ancient culture with so much art, so much history and so much pride,” said Jeff Spindle who recently moved to the area with his family.

Across town, Lunar New Year is also a big deal at the Kennedy Performing Arts Center, with several Year of the Pig shows and events throughout the month.

“We’re excited to have this initiative, which began four years ago,” said Alicia Adams, the Vice President of the International Programming and Dance at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. “We’ve worked quite a lot, and mostly, with China and the Chinese Embassy and the Ministry of Culture to do this and create this event for everybody.”

The center is expecting more people to attend the programs this year. The recent partial U.S. government shutdown forced other organizations in the area to cancel their lunar new year events.

One of this year’s headlining acts: the Guangdong Arts Troupe, coming all the way from southeast China.

With acrobats, dancers and magicians, the troupe has been practicing for about a half a year before coming to the U.S.

“I’m so happy to be here,” said Zhao Jun Fang, the Artistic Director of the Guangdong Arts Troupe. “I hope this performance will bring joy to the American audience in celebrating the start of the lunar new year.”