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5 best Chinese New Year celebrations around the world
These destinations are renowned for going all out for Chinese New Year. If you're planning to celebrate in style, this is where you want to be.
Whether you call it Chinese New Year, Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, Chinese New Year is the biggest day on the Asian calendar – and this year, it falls on Saturday 25 January 2020.
Street parties, lion dances and decadent banquets will be held in the lead-up to and during Chinese New Year across Asia, including Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia and, of course, China.
For anyone travelling to see the celebrations, we suggest you get there early and stay at least two weeks. Celebrations begin the evening before Chinese New Year and continue through to the Lantern Festival, which is 15 days later. And don’t forget to check out our deals on travel during Chinese New Year.
Here are our picks of the best of the best you should see at least once in your lifetime:
Best destinations for Chinese New Year celebrations
For the hub of Chinese New Year celebrations, go straight to the source. Beijing and Shanghai are said to host the best Chinese New Year celebrations with carnivals, firecrackers and parades pulling anyone and everyone into the streets to cut loose and celebrate.
- Where to go: Beijing and Shanghai
- What to expect: Carnivals, firecrackers, parades, temple visits
- Events to attend: Qing-Style Sacred Ceremony at the Ditan Temple Fair, Longging Ice and Snow Festival at Longging Gorge
2. Hong Kong
Blending old traditions and customs with modern practices, Hong Kong’s Chinese New Year is like no other. The festivities run for an mind-boggling 15-days during which time the city come alive with markets, fireworks, food stalls, florals and red glowing lanterns.
The pièce de résistance? A 20-minute fireworks display and International Chinese New Year Night Parade on the day of Chinese New Year. Simply unforgettable.
- Where to go: Tsim Sha Tsui, Victoria Harbour
- What to expect: Markets, fireworks displays, lanterns, parades
- Events to attend: Night Parade in Tsim Sha Tsui, fireworks display over Victoria Harbour, Chinese New Year races at Sha Tin Racecourse
The anticipation for Chinese New Year in Singapore is stifling. An annual countdown in the city’s Chinatown begins three weeks prior with an official opening ceremony that includes fireworks and performances.
Arrive a week before Chinese New Year and you’ll witness the street’s pre-war shophouses, temples and clan houses lit up in a spectacle of old meets new.
They’ll remain lit for 19 continuous days.
- Where to go: Chinatown
- What to expect: Fireworks, street performances, decorated shopfronts and temples
- Events to attend: International Lion Dance Competition, Chingay Parade
Although the three-day-long celebrations in Bangkok are short, they most definitely are sweet.
The party opens with the Thai Princess, who partakes in the celebrations throughout the New Year. Bangkok’s Chinatown becomes a display of bright red and gold as floats, dancers and drummers parade down its streets. As the night wears on, the parade’s long dragon is lit up in LED lights to guide the way.
Lanterns glow throughout the streets and the night is further lit up with the crack and sparkle of firecrackers.
- Where to go: Chinatown
- What to expect: Parades with red and gold floats, street performers, dragon dancing
- Events to attend: Dragon parade on Yaowarat Road, Golden Dragon Dance, Dragon Parade
5. San Francisco
Proving that you should never underestimate the party power outside of Asia, San Francisco hosts a Chinese New Year celebration worthy of the trip.
Boasting one of the oldest Chinese New Year celebrations outside Asia, its parade draws in over a million onlookers annually and consists of over 5,000 performers.
- Where to go: Chinatown
- What to expect: Parades with dancers, drummers, stilt walkers, dragon dancing and fireworks
- Events to attend: Chinese New Year Parade, Miss Chinatown USA Pageant, San Francisco Symphony Chinese New Year celebration
Best Chinese New Year deals
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