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The Best Places To Enjoy Chinese New Year Around The World

Paper dragon hanging in the air in between red paper lanterns.
Happy Lunar New Year - Year of the Dragon ©M D Harding Travel Photography

The Spring Festival/Chinese New Year also known as Lunar New Year is celebrated around the world. The Spring Festival is the most important traditional holiday in Asia, a significant occasion for families to gather together with relatives and friends. Here are some incredible destinations around the world where you can immersive yourself in joyful and fun events to celebrate Chinese New Year.

The Best Places To Enjoy Chinese New Year Around The World

About Chinese New Year

Red lucky envelopes hanging from indoor tree
Lunar New Year Lucky Red Envelopes ©M D Harding Travel Photography

Chinese New Year also known as Lunar New Year is celebrated around the world. Each year is represented by one of twelve animals, with celebrations lasting for fifteen days. Each year Chinese Lunar New Year falls between the 21st of January and the 20th of February following the lunar calendar. This year (2024) the 10th of February welcomes The Year of the Wood Dragon.

The dragon is considered a symbol of power, strength, and good fortune. People born in the Year of the Dragon are said to be confident, ambitious, charismatic, and have a strong sense of responsibility. Not just that, but they're also rumored to be creative, intelligent, and energetic.

There are also five elements within the Chinese Zodiac; Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. It is believed that these elements not only affect a person's destiny but also make the universe and its creatures constantly cycle. This year the element is wood representing growth, flexibility, and abundance, as well as kindness, generosity, and strong morals.

Chinese New Year is the most important traditional holiday in Asia, a significant occasion for families to gather together with relatives and friends. People reflect on the achievements of the past year, offering mutual blessings and expectations for the future. One of the most famous traditional greetings for Chinese New Year is kung hei fat choi, meaning 'happiness and prosperity'.

Chinese New Year Traditions

Lots of lucky red paper decorations for the home.
Chinese New Year Decorations ©M D Harding Travel Photography

Some traditions that are followed for the Spring Festival/Chinese New Year include wearing red, fireworks and giving lucky red envelopes. Watch out for the taboos during this time!

At home, the windows are decorated with red paper cuttings, and doors are adorned with couplets expressing auspicious wishes for the new year.

It's tradition to give the gift of a bright, beautiful red envelope (known as 紅包, hóngbāo) to your friends and family. The colour red is a symbol of energy, happiness, and good luck. These are filled with an even amount of money (as even is lucky) symbolizing good wishes and luck for the new year ahead.

Many enjoy lucky foods to bring in the new year including Jiaozi (Dumplings), Chun Juan (Spring Rolls), Changshou Mian (Longevity Noodles), Good Fortune Fruit, Babao Fan (Eight Treasures Rice), and Tang Yuan (Glutinous-Rice Balls in Sweet Syrup).

Some of the taboos include not mentioning the word illness or death, not washing or getting your hair cut as it is seen as washing your fortune away, and dramatically reducing the chances of prosperity in the year ahead.

Celebrating Chinese New Year In Edinburgh 2024

Large colourful dragon with Chinese Dragon Dancers
Chinese Dragon Dancers Launch Edinburgh's Chinese New Year Festival 2024 - The Year of the Dragon ©M D Harding Travel Photography

Edinburgh has the largest (across Scotland) Chinese New Year Festival! This year a full programme of events and activities will take place across the city including Chinese New Year Concerts, dragon and lion dances, two bilingual ceilidhs, tai chi sessions, calligraphy, and tarot card reading plus more! Taking place from Saturday 3rd to Friday 16th February 2024.

You can find out more in the Celebrating Chinese New Year In Edinburgh 2024 blog.

Celebrating Chinese New Year In London

Entering through the gate of Chinatown in London
Chinatown, London ©M D Harding Travel Photography

On Sunday the 11th of February London will take to the streets for the Chinese New Year Parade, starting at 10am from the West End's Duncannon Street, up Charing Cross Road, and down Shaftesbury Avenue, dispersing on Rupert Street. There will also be performances throughout the day from 12noon till 6pm at the Trafalgar Square Stage, stalls on Gerrard Place and Newport Court in Chinatown London. You will also find lion dancing, stalls, and plenty of places to stop off for a Chinese New Year feast in Chinatown. Don't miss the festive specials and celebratory salad-tossing!

Celebrating Chinese New Year In New York

Colourful decorative dragon cake
Year of the Dragon Cake ©M D Harding Travel Photography

This year New York is celebrating the 26th New Year Firecracker Ceremony & Cultural Festival taking place on Saturday 10th February Sara D. Roosevelt Park at Grand Street between 11am - 3.30pm the celebrations continue for the 26th Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade & Festival starting at 1pm Sunday 25th February from Mott & Canal to Chatham Square to East Broadway towards the Manhattan Bridge, completing on Eldridge and Forsyth Streets towards Grand Street next to Sara D. Roosevelt Park.

Celebrating Chinese New Year In San Francisco

Looking up street adorned with red lanterns.
Chinatown, San Francisco, USA ©M D Harding Travel Photography

Named one of the top ten Parades in the world by the International Festivals & Events Association, the Chinese New Year Parade in San Francisco is one of the few remaining night-illuminated Parades in North America and the biggest parade celebrating the Lunar New Year outside of Asia. The parade will take place on Saturday 24th February at 5.15pm - 8pm from 2nd and Market Streets, going around Union Square and ending at Kearny Street & Columbus Ave.

Celebrating Chinese New Year In Singapore

Main Street in Singapore decorated with large pink pigs.
Lunar New Year - Year of the Pig 2019, Singapore ©M D Harding Travel Photography

Singapore's own Chinatown Chinese New Year Light-Up features over 80,000 LED lights that illuminate the district (New Bridge Road, Eu Tong Sen, and South Bridge Road). An accompanying market is also ripe for exploration, where you'll find authentic street food, and amazing souvenirs to take home. Oh, and there is a carnival full of rides! Ideal for the little ones.

The Chingay Parade (Singapore's version of Mardi Gras) is not just big, it's said to be the biggest street performance and float parade in the whole of Asia! With a spectacular display of sparking costumes, glittery floats, and dazzling performances from different ethnic communities. You'll see a traditional lion dance, dragon dance, and other cultural performances that showcase the rich diversity of Singapore. The parade takes place this weekend! With an exhilarating showcase of firecrackers, featuring a diverse assortment of comets, mines, and fountains when the clocks strike midnight this Friday 9th February.

And finally, don't miss the River Hongbao, an annual event held at the Marina Bay Floating Platform. Featuring traditional lantern displays, fireworks, cultural performances, and food stalls, it's a great way to experience the festive spirit of the Chinese New Year!

However and wherever you are this Chinese Lunar New Year kung hei fat choi!


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