Known also as the Spring Festival, Chinese New Year is an all-important traditional Chinese holiday that’s widely celebrated all around the globe. From North America and Europe to, of course, Asia and the Middle East, there are cities far and wide boasting elaborate costumes, red and gold decorations, popping firecracker shows, boat races, paper folding contests, and magical parades featuring dragon and lion dances. You can bet that there are also a ton of delicious food and banquets to enjoy as well.
Break out the red envelopes and golden lanterns by ringing in the Year of the Rooster with family, friends, and a party like no other. Some of the best places to celebrate Chinese New Year are actually located outside of China, so here are the eight best places in the world to celebrate Chinese New Year in 2017.
Where To Celebrate Chinese New Year In The World In 2017
Comprised primarily of Chinese, Indian, and Malaysian ethnic groups, the entire country joins in on all the fun each and every Chinese New Year by mixing age-old customs with totally new traditions, a combination that meshes perfectly with the unique diversity of various cultures within the city. For more than two decades, there’s always been a gathering of locals and tourists at River Hongbao, which hosts a lively festival complete with giant lanterns, traditional song and dance performances, spectacular firework displays, and an array of exotic delicacies to celebrate everything that is Chinese.
Another Singaporean favorite is the Chingay Parade in Downtown. It remains the largest street and float parade in Asia and is truly a magnificent sight to see. Catch stilt walkers, dancing dragons, and traditional lion walkers, along with acrobats, samba parties, magic shows, and an all-around joyous vibe of people coming together to experience a once in a lifetime opportunity. Make sure to mosey on down to Chinatown after taking in the parades and festivals to savor authentic cuisine and to pay your respects in one of the many temples.
The mother of all celebrations happens, of course, in the country that started it all. China’s capital city combines classical tradition with modern prosperity to provide folks with nights and days full of carnivals, festivals, firecrackers, and parades—all with an extra special emphasis on family and historical tradition.
Engage in a temple fair or immerse yourself in an array of Chinese folk art. Dance along with lion and dragon performers, sample authentic food stalls, and attend popular events such as the Reenactment of the Qing-Style Sacred Ceremony at the Ditan Temple Fair. Numerous parks around town also host athletic competitions and demonstrations for people to take part in or observe. Be sure to catch the Longqing Ice and Snow Festival, where you’ll find an incredible amount of ice sculptures to gawk over. The best time to visit Beijing is the time of the Chinese New Year, no questions asked.
London takes pride in boasting another one of the world’s largest celebrations of the Chinese New Year outside of Asia. The home of Big Ben and Buckingham Palace hosts a one-day festival each year in three main areas throughout town: Trafalgar Square, Shaftesbury Avenue, and Chinatown. Find everything from lively parades and performances to traditional crafts and foods, especially in the latter area, which offers the best Chinese goodies to chow down on.
Visitors should definitely book a table as early as possible at one of the many fabulous restaurants that’ll be fully decked out with lucky red lanterns and shiny gold banners, as well as make sure to catch some of the biggest and brightest Chinese dance groups and performers on the many stages set up throughout the city.
The Bay Area boasts one the oldest and largest Chinese New Year parades and festivals outside of Asia—it’s also the largest Asian cultural event in North America. During the mid 19th century, San Fran’s Chinatown was booming to the tee with Chinese residents eager to share their love of the annual celebration. From that time on, the city chose to fully embrace the magic and mystery of the holiday with illuminated night parade floats featuring elaborate designs, specialty costumes, exploding firecrackers, marching drumming bands, stilt walkers, and acrobats who all fly up and down the narrow streets of the Golden Gate City. S to the F’s celebrations have gained so much attention that even U.S. based airline, Southwest Airlines, now serves as the official sponsor of the parade!
What started as a small community event to celebrate the Chinese New Year quickly turned into one of the hugest Lunar Year celebrations in the world. The twilight parade is a signature event Down Under, with its sensational display of lights, fabulous bursts of color, spectacularly decorated floats, huge floating lanterns, and array of community performers dancing their way down the Sydney streets. There are also a plethora of events throughout town such as, martial art demonstrations, karaoke competitions, and dancing dragons and lions that are held during a month-long celebration.
Sample delicacies at the markets and street stalls set up in Chinatown, partake in a dragon boat races on Cockle Bay, or get up close and personal with the history of intricately carved boats that serve as a major part of the Chinese history. Sydney has truly made this traditional holiday its very own and it’s no wonder why it remains one of the most favorite spots to ring in the Chinese New Year.
An already colorful city in itself, HK gets into a truly red and gold spirit in all the weeks leading up to the Lunar New Year. There is, of course, the night parade in Tsim Sha Tsui, one of the city’s biggest attractions. See brightly lit floats, follow performance artists and dancers along the harbor front, and experience a rainfall of confetti and elaborate decorations. The kiddies can make it an even happier New Year by ringing it in at Hong Kong Disneyland, which always organizes Chinese New Year-themed events and attractions with Mickey and his entire crew rocking it out in traditional Chinese garb.
For those seeking other unique things to do, be sure to hit the Peak at the top of Hong Kong Island to receive blessings at the Wheel of Fortune attraction, or to catch the incredible panoramic views available at Central, Victoria Harbour, and Lamma Island. There are even tons of flower markets and temples to wander towards during the daytime, as well as plenty of time to indulge in the food offerings at local street markets. Did we mention that visitors hoping to gain some good fortune can even head down to the horse-racing track to place some bets? It gets all done up in decorations and red lanterns and even offers a lion dance on the third day of celebrations! Blend together old traditions, practices, and beliefs with brand new customs that are perfect for the younger generations. Uber fun awaits in Hong Kong.
7. Los Angeles
The City of Angels is home to some of the largest Chinese New Year celebrations across the United States. Of course, there’s an amazing annual parade with its outstanding floats, drummers, lion dancers, and dance troupes that march down the streets of Chinatown. But the fun doesn’t just stop at one annual parade—the city’s got midnight temple celebrations where people can receive blessings and light off hundreds of firecrackers, traditional dragon dancers hopping through sidewalk streets, exciting scavenger hunts throughout the area, bunches of free festivals in numerous parks, as well as plenty of shopping centers around town that all take part in the holiday by donning Chinese-themed décor. There’s even a towering New Year Wish Tree! Snazzy.
Universal Studios Hollywood even celebrates the Chinese New Year with style and sophistication by hosting traditionally themed décor, featuring characters dressed in traditional Chinese attire, and providing a Mandarin version of their famous studio tour. Disneyland also recently jumped on board with similar celebrations by decking out the entire park with lanterns and banners galore, along with a variety of authentic Chinese musicians, dancers, and food.
Vancouver’s well known to be more than multicultural, so you can bet that celebrations of the Chinese New Year in this Canadian city spread far and wide. The Chinese population of the area isn’t simply centered in the historic Chinatown district, but also in Richmond as well, which is why both parts offer their own unique twists on annual parades featuring intricate floats, marching bands, dance troupes, dancing dragons, and lucky lions. There are even more eclectic and quirky options, such as the annual Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner, a 10-course banquet saluting Chinese New Year and offering unusual cuisine.
In Richmond, you’ll find more of a modern-day Beijing than an actual historic Chinatown, but come January or February, the massive shopping centers around the area will begin to boast a plethora of flower markets and other cultural events for visitors to check out. Richmond also is home to the second largest temple in North America, so be sure to receive a blessing from the Buddhist hotspot. Plus, with hundreds of Asian restaurants throughout Richmond, there really is no shortage of authentic food and special Chinese delicacies that you won’t likely find any other time of the year. With over a quarter of its population speaking one of the Chinese dialects as their first language, Vancouver is truly one authentic place to ring in the New Year.
This article was written by Pamela Chan.