Discover how different parts of the globe welcome Lunar New Year or Spring Festival with enthusiasm
With only a few days away from Lunar New Year, many are engrossed in several preparations. After tidying up their homes, it is now time to attend family dinners, shop for gifts, and send greetings and red envelopes to loved ones. Yet it is the extravagant parades and parties that we are all looking forward to. Wherever you are in the world, you are certain to witness lavish celebrations filled with sumptuous food, free-flowing drinks, and astonishing fireworks display. We’ve listed down the grandest Chinese New Year celebrations that show enthusiasm for new beginnings.
With the most number of Chinese restaurants and shops in its Chinatown, you can only expect Yokohama to have an ostentatious Chinese Spring Festival. From January 24 to February 8, there are different activities like the massive countdown, installations, and performances like the Cai Qing Lion Dance. During the dance, the lions “pick the greens” or vegetables hung outside people’s homes and shops. They spit out the leaves in time with the music, the entire tradition signifying bringing good luck for the year. There are also red envelopes with the greens, containing the payment to the dancers.
A massive street celebration greets you in Chingay or “the art of costume and masquerade.” Deemed the largest float parade in Asia, Chingay also captures the multicultural personality of Singapore. Mounted over four decades ago, the parade stretches from F1 Pit Building all the way NS Square or the Marina Bay Platform. With over 6,000 volunteers this year, witness astounding fireworks display, pyrotechnics, and performances in traditional and contemporary. Taking up the theme of “Colours in Harmony” this year, Chingay gathers the various communities in the country to celebrate differences in this annual event.
Apart from welcoming fresh beginnings, the Lunar New Year is also a festival to shut out bad omens and evil spirits. What better way to do it than to release an astounding display of over 600,000 firecrackers into the sky? Lion dancing parades also accompany the event. You can enjoy watching it while indulging in a selection of mouthwatering Chinese treats and delicacies.
The Thean Hou Temple of Malaysia attracts thousands of tourists especially those planning to celebrate the Chinese New Year. The six-tier temple’s hundreds of glowing stark red lanterns fascinated many with its structure and interiors. This Year of the Rat, the temple will mount 13 feet-high mice sculptures standing on a bucket of rice. The mice mascots represent an abundance of food and wealth to greet visitors. The latter can also receive ‘peacebags’. These contain a replica of the Qing Dynasty’s ancient Kangxi coin crafted from the Putian City of China. There are also mouse-themed operas and plays, welcoming the new year with beautiful and enriching performances.
One of the biggest Lunar New Year celebrations beyond Asia, the festivities begin from West End to Trafalgar Square. It starts with the essence of “giving life” through the painting of dots on a lion costume’s face. Traditional lion dances, musical performances, acrobatics, and martial art installations follow this annual painting. For those wanting to take a break from the jovial atmosphere and enjoy a serene celebration, you can visit The National Maritime Museum and The National Gallery. They have planned arts and crafts activities for families like Mandarin story and rhyme sessions, dumpling workshops, and dance ensembles.
Yuyuan Gardens hold the most phenomenal lantern display during Chinese New Year. Apart from the variety in colors, shapes, and sizes, the symbols painted on them draw the attention of visitors. From delicate fish representing prosperity to fierce dragons calling for good luck, these lanterns are a sight to behold. There are those carrying riddles and puns that adds a fun challenge to visitors. The fascinating kaleidoscopic display recalls the rich cultural heritage of Shanghai, promoting and attracting hundreds of visitors.
Manchester is the home to the largest Chinese communities in the UK. They celebrate the incoming year with a glittering 50-foot golden dragon sculpture at St. Ann’s Square. For its annual parade, a 175-foot dragon in gold and vibrant hues would make its way to the Chinatown. Apart from the floats, expect to see martial arts and thrilling acrobatic performances. There are also craft workshops for families and their children, reinforcing more bonding moments.