The year of the rooster is almost upon us, but the celebrations will last well beyond January 28. Though the Lunar New Year (also known as the Spring Festival) originated in China, celebrating Chinese New Year is a worldwide phenomenon. Here’s a look at how this special occasion is celebrated around the world.
1. Shanghai, China
The Longhua temple in Xuhui is a great spot to ring in the new year — literally: Buddhist monks ascend the temple’s famous pagoda and ring its bell to ward off evil spirits in the year ahead.
The world-famous lantern show at the Yu Garden bazaar is also worth a visit. On the final days of the first lunar month, enormous lantern displays of different shapes hang above the area’s streets and plazas.
Each year, students at the Singapore University of Technology and Design create an enormous light-up display that hangs above Chinatown. This festive display sets the stage for the Hong Bao Carnival, named for the lucky red envelopes of money given to children on New Year’s Eve.
3. San Francisco, United States
Celebrating Chinese New Year has been a tradition in the Bay Area since the 1860’s.
The most iconic event is the night parade, which fuses the city’s trademark quirkiness with Chinese New Year traditions. The parade culminates in an impressive grand finale, when 100 men and women carry a 201-foot-long golden dragon through the crowd.
4. Paris, France
“The city of light” gets even brighter every year when Chinese New Year celebrations begin.
Revelers fill the streets of the 13th Arrondissement (home to multiple Buddhist temples) with firecrackers, costumed dancers, and paper lanterns.
5. Beijing, China
Temple fairs replete with local snacks, folk art, and traditional performances pop up outside local temples throughout Beijing each Chinese New Year. These bustling marketplaces have been around for hundreds of years, dating back to the Liao Dynasty (907 – 1125).
6. Hong Kong
Entertainers come from as far as the U.S. and Germany for the chance to perform at the legendary Hong Kong New Year parade, where the festival begins.
But the main event is the horse races at the Sha Tin racetrack on the festival’s third day, when the region’s best jockeys compete for the Chinese New Year Cup in front of 100,000 roaring spectators.
7. Harbin, China
If you prefer winter festivals to spring ones, the celebrations in Harbin are perfect for you. This provincial capital combines the traditions of Chinese New Year with its own Ice and Snow festival among a village of huge, brightly-lit ice and snow sculptures.
8. New York City, United States
With a large population of Chinese of its own, New York knows how to do Chinese New Year right. The firecracker ceremony and cultural festival on the first day of the Lunar New Year starts with midday fireworks and continues well after the sun goes down.
A week later, the annual parade, complete with dragons, dancers, and traditional delicacies, winds its way through lower Manhattan’s Chinatown.
9. London, England
London claims to host the largest Chinese New Year celebrations outside of Asia. Parades, acrobat performances, dragon dances, and martial arts acts all unfold in one wild day in the bustling West End.
Stop by the craft stalls and food stands along Wardour and Gerrard Streets in Chinatown to complete the experience.
10. Sydney, Australia
Sydney’s summer weather offers a warmer way to celebrate “Spring Festival.”
Dragon Boat races in Darling Harbour are a major highlight and foodies won’t want to miss the Lunar Markets at Pyrmont Bay Park.
Where are you planning to celebrate Chinese New Year? Leave a Facebook comment and let us know!