As one of the most important festivals for ethnic Chinese, the Lunar New Year celebrations are as varied and vibrant as the countries they are celebrated in. With over 50 million overseas Chinese scattered around the world on top of the 1.3 billion living in China, the annual Spring Festival is one of the world’s most celebrated festivals. Each year, around the world grand celebrations bring in the Chinese New Year with street parties, lots of music and delightful food.
Chinese New Year Around the World
In 2015, the Year of the Goat, Chinese New Year starts on 19 February and celebrations last for 15 days.
If you manage an escape from the aunties at the reunion dinner, here are some of the best cities to enjoy lively Chinese New Year celebrations in the 2015 Year of the Goat.
Chinese New Year in Beijing
The Chinese capital’s temple fairs (miao hui) are a beloved tradition dating to the Yuan Dynasty. These celebrations on the temple grounds are raucously festive affairs featuring the entire gamut of Chinese entertainment options — drum troops, acrobatic performances, Chinese opera and cross-talk shows.
Soak in the atmosphere and people-watch as you pick out traditional handicrafts such as Chinese paper cuttings.
If you get hungry, there’s no shortage of traditional snacks such as bean cakes and malt sugar candy to savour. Some temple fairs to check out include those at Ditan Park, Dongyue Miao and Daguanyuan.
Chinese New Year in Hong Kong
If glitz and glamour is your thing, make a beeline for Hong Kong Chinese New Year extravaganza. The festivities kick off on the first day of the Lunar New Year on Feb 19 2015 with a huge parade in Tsim Sha Tsui featuring performing groups and fancy floats from around the world, in a nod to the city’s international heritage.
The next evening, jostle with the crowds at Victoria Harbor to take in the magnificent 30-minute fireworks display, made even more spectacular because the pyrotechnics will be choreographed to complement the iconic laser show, Symphony of Lights.
On the third day, start your new year on an auspicious note (hopefully) by going to the Sha Tin racecourse to place a bet on your favourite horse. Apparently the results of the race are an indicator of how your year will turn out – take this with a (large) pinch of salt though!
Chinese New Year in Melbourne, Australia
Experiencing Melbourne’s Chinese New Year celebrations is also a great way to explore the city. CNY events in Melbourne are spread out over a few neighbourhoods.
Photo: CC 2.0 – Chris Phutully
The main parade usually takes place in the city centre along Little Bourke Street. But for a more interactive experience, head to the other locations, including Richmond and Box Hill to take in the fun activities such as karaoke and Chinese chess competitions, as well as games and arts and crafts for the kids.
Needless to say, there will be street stalls selling all manner of foods so you can snack on those scrumptious Chinese New Year goodies as you watch the festivities.
Chinese New Year in San Francisco, USA
As one of the largest and oldest Chinatowns in the United States, the New Year celebrations here are correspondingly as elaborate.
Photo: CC 2.0 – Conny Liegl
Events are planned throughout the entire 15-day celebrations, including a flower fair, community street fair and Miss Chinatown USA pageant. The festivities culminate in the Chinese New Year parade on March 7, the largest celebration of its kind outside Asia.
Join in the crowds as they gawk at the elaborate floats, martial arts performers, marching bands, lion dancers and acrobats and see the newly crowned Miss Chinatown USA reign over her domain. Whatever you do, you must stay for the grand finale – the 201-foot Golden Dragon. Carried by over 100 performers and accompanied by over 600,000 firecrackers, this dragon is a perennial crowd pleaser at the Parade.
Chinese New Year here in Singapore
The city-state’s Chinese New Year celebrations are a fun hodgepodge of the myriad cultures of its denizens, making this a one-of-a-kind experience.
Photo: CC 2.0 – Wunna Phyoe
This year’s River Hongbao carnival, held at Marina Bay, is touted to be its largest yet as it will also commemorate Singapore’s Jubilee year. Besides tightrope performances from a visiting Chinese acrobatic group, there will be nightly programmes based on varying themes, such as getai (live stage song and dance performances)and xinyao (nostalgic Chinese pop music).
To really get in the mood to party, attend the annual two-day Chingay Festival on 27 and 28 February, Singapore’s version of a wholesome mardi gras. Expect to see multi-cultural dance troupes, elaborate floats and street parties.
Ready to Get Out and Travel?
Check out the Expedia Singapore Last Minute Chinese New Year Sale to book your trip.
Photos: Shutterstock, Various photographers under Creative Commons 2.0 License.
Feature Image: Renwin Temple, Guangzhou China